Paul Mc Allister -Owner of Workaway recruitment

5th January 2017

As a recruiter, there are certain things you lookout for on a cover letter. A cover letter is essentially the first thing a hiring or HR manager views from your application. A well written cover letter can actually land the interview, even if the candidate does not have the sufficient experience on the CV.


Before we go into the tips of how to write a sharp cover letter, it's important to get an understanding of what a cover letter / email actually is and what it's purpose is.


A cover letter is the very first interaction you have from an online job application. First impressions are so important when it comes to applying for jobs.  You could compare it to the handshake and the two seconds we have to convince someone new that you are worth getting to know.


So, how do we go about writing a strong cover letter?





“Please see attached my CV for a job in your school.”


Statements like these show me that a candidate hasn’t bothered to do any research. Already, you are on the back foot with the application.


You should replace these generic and bland statements with thoughtful and targeted phrases.



Step 2: A cover letter is a two-way street. Make it about the employer as much as yourself.


Think of it in a social situation. If someone approaches you in a bar and the first words coming out of their mouth were “I am Paul and I have all these great skills. Everybody thinks I am great. My manager said I was the best on his team.”


You wouldn’t be thinking that this guy is great, you would look for the fastest way to get out of the conversation. A cover letter can work the same way.


When you compare it to somebody who has done their homework on the school they are applying to. This doesn’t take long. Most Schools will have plenty of information that you could pick up from there website. 2-3 minutes of browsing the website and the job specification should be enough to pick up all the relevant information you need.


“Congrats to your senior rugby team on winning the schools cup this year”


“It was good to see ABC international school was well represented finishing third in the national science fair”


“It was great to see that the students of your school did a charity event sleeping out on the street to raise awareness for homeless people.”


However, it's important not to overdo it. Don’t be the creepy stalker who lists everything about the school. Pick one or two points just to let the hiring manager know that this is an application that you have put time and interest into.




Ok so we have identified that A) We have done our research on the school or Agency. B)  The recruiter knows that this is someone that has taken the time to research the school….which is a massive thumbs up in an application process.


Next step: Lets identify aspects in the job specification and target specific points why YOU are the best person for the job.

Read through the job spec, what is it asking you for?


“We are looking for someone who will get involved in different aspects of school life.”


Make reference to the point on the job sec (again showing research you did) and link yourself into this requirement.


As an extra curricular activity in my old school, I managed the U13’s football team on Monday and Wednesdays after school hours.

I arranged a food drive at Christmas.

I used to give the kids guitar lessons after school.


Although these may seem small, they can make a recruiter think “ah he deserves a phone call at least for the effort he put in”.


All these points should be listed on your CV, but the cover letter is essentially the theatrical trailer before the movie.  Identify some of the best bits that relate to the specific school and create a connection.




For more tips on creating a cover letter that will get you noticed, feel free to send me a message.


I Look forward to hearing from you.