I understand your frustration. Looking for any job is a full time job. To
make your letter of inquiry stand out from the pile, I would use gray
paper. Avoid using anything like chartreuse or pink. :-).
However, your cover letter of application will not get you the job. In
order to get an art teaching job, you need to be very aggressive. There
are several strategies I recommend to my own students at SWTSU: First, do
some soul searching--identify what you want and where you want to teach.
Second, get the names and addresses, phone numbers of school districts
where you want to teach and create a master list. Third, set up a filing
system with file folders with each school name. A computer data base would
be a good idea as well. Maintain this system and keep it up to date.
Fourth, do some research on each school by going to the www to see if they
have a web page and try to gain some useful information about the school
that you could use in your letter of inquiry/application. You could also
call the Chamber of Commerce in that city and have them send you any
information about the town, schools etc. If you are close by, visit the
community and talk to people in stores and restaurants. Fifth, call the
school to find out if they have an opening. If they do, ask them to send
you an application form. If they don't, ask them if it would be okay to
fill out an application in the event they would have an opening later. If
not, just send these people a letter of inquiry with your resume. Sixth,
when you get the application, look it over really good and photcopy it.
Fill out the photocopy in pencil for a trial run and then use this as the
guide to fill out the original application form. Write a cover letter that
is specific to that particular school. Your research will come in handy
here. I suggest avoid writing a canned letter. Be sure to include your
resume. If you have a web page, send it to them on disk. At all cost,
write to a real person and not to whom it may concern or dear Madam or Sir.
Be sure to make copies of what you send, file it and record what and when
you have done it your filing system or data base.
Seventh and when you think they have your job application give them a call
and ask for an interview. Eighth, keep calling until you get an interview.
Ninth, at the interview, if you want the job, ask for the job at the close
of the interview. Say something like this...I am very impressed (mean it)
with your school. I would be honored to work here and I believe I am the
type of person you need for this position. I really want this job.
.....if they act uncertain, ask them if there is anyone else who you would
need to talk to about the job. Close the interview again by asking for the
Tenth, when you get home write them a thank you letter for the interview.
Eleventh, if you don't get the job, call them up and ask them if they know
of any other openings in other districts or if they could recommend a good
school for you to contact. Thank them again for their time. Eleventh, if
you are offered a contract, be sure to check out the town, other teachers
and the area very closely before you say yes. Beginning teachers are
sometimes to eager to take any job. Your first art teaching job is very
important and you want to get off to a good start. Some things to find out
are: how long has the current principal been there, how many principals
have they had in the last ten years or so. What is the turnover rate for
teachers in the district? The answer to these questions can let you know
whether or not other teachers and administrators are satisfied with the
Thats all for now. Hope this helps.
Diane C. Gregory, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Art Education
Department of Art and Design
Southwest Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas 78666
dg09 (university e-mail in San Marcos)
dianegregory (home e-mail in Austin)