Yesterday in Morning Meeting I attempted to help our students with emails they are or will be writing for summer employment or internships. I have realized with my own kids that it is scary for them to write emails to adults and they do not have very practice with more formal communication. I decided to write an amusing email piecing together some of the red flag sentences I have received from job applicants over the last twenty years that I have been involved in hiring employees. I tried to recreate in the email below what I wrote in front of the school yesterday.
Dear Mr. Bates,
I noticed your recent job posting and realized I just had to write to you to tell you about myself. Dublin School has always been on my radar because it is in a perfect location for my family. As you can see I have had a very successful career in schools and am now looking for the next chapter in my life and hope to find a school that has a more relaxing vibe than some of the bigger city schools where I have worked. Could you tell me more about faculty housing, your vacation schedule, and staff benefits. If we could set up a visit and an interview soon that would be great because I will be traveling to the Monadnock Region next week. I am really impressed with everything you have done there at Putney and think you will see the many ways that I could help truly elevate your school.
The students found this email quite amusing and did a great job of figuring our why each individual sentence caused me to pause with concern. We talked about the importance of tone and even took a stab at writing a better email as a whole school. At the end I mentioned how important it is to me that job applicants show a specific and well-research interest in the job to which they are applying. I want applicants to Dublin School to talk about school culture, the student body, and the school’s program. Successful teachers at Dublin care deeply about students, they are willing to work incredibly hard, they collaborate easily, and check their egos at the door. Those qualities can come through in a a carefully crafted email and their absence is duly noted in a poor crafted one. I concluded by encouraging students to share drafts of their emails with me or other members of the faculty. Our English Department even has specific lessons for teaching students how to write emails and formal letters. I am looking forward to continuing the conversation and welcome any ideas from our readers.