Unlike a cover letter, a letter of intent or interest is something you'll typically send when making a general inquiry about possibilities for employment in the future, instead of an inquiry about a specific job. Thus, it's set up in a slightly different way than a cover letter. For an assistant principal job, your letter should focus on your experience and your educational philosophy, among other details related to the district or school in question.
Applying in a New District: Do Your Research
With a cover letter, you'll typically be responding to an advertisement for a specific job at a specific school. Thus, you'd be able to respond to the specific requests in the job advertisement. With a letter of intent, you won't have that benefit, so you'll need to do more research and guesswork about what the district might be looking for in a potential hire. Do some research on LinkedIn, read the district and school website thoroughly and poll any fellow colleagues for insight into what types of skills or traits district leaders might value. Also research the school demographics to find out what types of students you might be working with.
When You Already Work in the District
If, on the other hand, you're already working in the district and you're looking to move up to an assistant principal role, you won't need to do as much guesswork. Talk to your current administrators and any current assistant principals or principals with whom you have a good relationship about the best information to include in your letter. Also be on the lookout for administrative training opportunities that arise; many districts are constantly searching for administrative trainees. If you attend any trainings, they'll be something to include in your letter.
Grabbing the Reader's Attention
As with any job inquiry letter, aim to grab the reader's attention right off the bat. When creating a job letter for an education position, the University of Northern Iowa suggests starting off with either your most relevant qualifications or a person the reader might know who suggested you inquire about the job. If another principal or assistant in the district recommended you send this letter, include that. Then mention the position you're hoping to obtain and any specific school where you wish to work. Since you're not applying for a specific job opening, state that you wish to be considered should anything come up.
The subsequent paragraph is your chance to sell yourself and go into detail about your qualifications. This includes your educational background, work experience and any special training you've had in educational administration. If you've been an assistant principal before, you'll naturally want to include that -- but if you haven't, cite specific examples of why you'd make a good one and what you've done to qualify. For example, you might mention other instances in which you've been in a leadership role and how you excelled. Since assistant principals often deal with discipline, scheduling and instructional leadership, also mention any experience you have in those realms. Also note what sets you apart from other potential candidates, and how your experience relates to the specific student population with whom you'd be working.
The closing paragraph should indicate some type of action the reader should take. Since you're sending an inquiry and not a cover letter, there's always the risk that your letter will be forgotten once it's read. To avoid that, ask the reader for an in-person meeting. If you live away from the area, mention when you might be in town to meet. If the school or district is preparing for a public event, mention that you'll be attending, making it easy for the reader of the letter to meet you. Keep the letter to one page and proofread it carefully before you send it out.
- Private School Review: What's the Difference Between a Letter of Interest and a Cover Letter?
- University of Northern Iowa: Job Search Letters for Educators
- National Association of Secondary School Principals: Changing Role of the Assistant Principal
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Education Cover Letter #3 - Administrative Position
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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