How to Write a Cover Letter What Should Your Cover Letter Do For You? It should answer the question – Why should I hire you? It should grab the employers’ attention and point out why you, above all other applicants, should be contacted for a personal interview. The resume should never travel alone. Each time you submit your resume to an employer, you should enclose a cover letter that explains why you are submitting the resume. A cover letter is critical to creating interest in your candidacy, even for an internship or volunteer opportunity.
The cover letter is your “sales pitch”. It gives you the opportunity to draw an employer’s attention to the skills and experience outlined in your resume. You can expand on certain courses or job responsibilities that particularly match the position for which to be considered. It also gives you a chance to highlight special achievements that might otherwise go overlooked. In summarizing your qualifications, highlight your most appropriate skills or background in relation to a particular position without simply reiterating the information on your resume.
Refer the reader to your enclosed resume for further elaboration your past accomplishments. Be direct and brief. Structure your cover letter with three sections: FIRST PARAGRAPH: This is the “why I’m writing to you” paragraph which immediately tells the employer the position you want to be considered for. This is short – usually 2-3 sentences. Points to cover: Why you are writing and which position you are applying for. ? How you heard about the position is irrelevant unless it is a mutual contact or recruiting program. Do not write, “I learned of this opportunity through the Career Services Office. ? Show from your research why you are interested in this position or organization. The goal is to make a connection – do this briefly and specifically or leave it out; sweeping statements will not work. SECOND PARAGRAPH: This is the “why I’m qualified” paragraph. Highlight some of your most relevant experiences and qualities as they relate to the position for which you are applying. Choose 2 – 3 points you want to make about Specific experiences/accomplishments or about general qualities you have exhibited, and provide Specific examples to support those points.
This paragraph will change according to the job/employer for which you are applying. This is usually the longest paragraph of the letter. You may break this paragraph into two if it looks too lengthy or if your points work best in separate paragraphs. Points to ponder: ? ? The first sentence should be a hard-hitting opener. It is a quick introduction, which is accomplishment-oriented and directed at the skills and qualifications needed for the job/industry. The body of the paragraph should provide evidence to back up what you’ve just claimed.
Cite specific jobs/internships/activities/projects and accomplishments associated with those experiences. Use your resume to come up with some specifics, but NEVER reiterate passages from your resume word for word. Discuss why what you did is to the employer- relate the facts to the job. Strong examples are important! The final sentence is a summary of what you’ve discussed above. It’s a good idea to mention the position title and company name to bring the reader back to the specific job in question. ? FINAL PARAGRAPH: This is a short 2-4 sentences paragraph.
You should refer to the enclosed resume, request an interview and let the reader know what will happen next (Contact them within specific period of time unless it is a recruiting program). It is vital that you thank the reader for his/her time and consideration. Cover Letter Rules 1. Address to a specific name and title. If you are uncertain who to address, look in the library reference materials or call the company and ask the receptionist for the appropriate name and title. To gather this information, tell the receptionist; “I am sending some important papers to the head of the Department.
However, I’m not sure I have the correct name and address. Could you please tell me to whom I should address these documents? ” Writing style should be direct, powerful and error free. Edit to eliminate extraneous words and to check grammar, spelling and punctuation. In addition to stating your purpose, the letter tells the reader how well you communicate. The cover letter should be no more than one page. It should follow good business format. Do not overwhelm the reader with a lengthy cover letter or excessive repetition of the resume content.
Keep the letter short and to the point. Three or four paragraphs will suffice: Paragraph 1: State your interest and purpose. Paragraph 2 (& 3): Highlight your resume by stressing what you will do for the employer. Paragraph 3: Request an interview and, if possible, indicate that you will call to discuss potential opportunities. 5. Use appropriate language. Repeat terms that the employer uses, without plagiarizing the job description or quoting from the resume. Avoid jargon and the passive voice. Use action verbs and the active voice. Do not try to be cute or too aggressive.
Be employer focused – tell the employer what you have to offer, not what you hope to gain from them or the position. Always be positive by stressing your base accomplishments and skills as well as your future value. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. Be sure to keep copies of all correspondence. It is possible that you will need to refer to it in the future . Sample Cover Letter for an Internship (courtesy of about. com) Your Name 111 Main Street Reading, MA 01867 (781) 555 -5555 [email protected] com Date Name Job Title Company Street City, State Zip Dear Ms.
LastName: I am interested in applying for the scientific research summer internship position that was listed through the Name University Career Services Office. I have had a great deal of laboratory experience in chemistry, biology, and geology, both indoors and in the field. In the lab, I have performed chemical reactions and I am currently using microscopes to observe many specimens. In environmental field studies, I have conducted outdoor labs to assess water chemistry. Last summer, I worked as conservation assistant at Clumber National Park. I am seeking to complement this outdoor experience with a esearch internship in order to acquire the background necessary for a future career in scientific research. I believe that I would an asset to your program. This internship would provide me with the ideal opportunity to assist at your organization and to expand my research skills. I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications seem to be a match for the position. If so, I hope to schedule an interview at a mutually convenient time. I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Signature FirstName LastName This is to be used as a REFERENCE ONLY.
PLEASE DO NOT COPY EXACT STATEMENTS for your letter. Every cover letter must be tailored to the job for which you are applying! Sample Cover for a Volunteer Opportunity (courtesy of UMASS Amherst) Your Name 111 Main Street Reading, MA 01867 (781) 555 -5555 [email protected] com August 9, 2012 Person’s Name Volunteer Coordinator Massachusetts Community Water Watch 44 Winter Street Boston, MA 02108 Dear Ms. X: This letter is to apply as a volunteer with Massachusetts Community Water Watch found through the Office of Community Service Learning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
I am available to intern from September 1st 2012 to May 16th 2013. I am a first year student interested in pursuing a career in the field of biology. Through my coursework at the University, I continue to master the art and science of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data. I have strengthened my organizational skills through my lab courses and have developed specialized skills in using Excel. With my experience as a camp counselor, I am confident in interacting with and presenting educational topics to a young audience.
Specifically, I was assigned by my supervisor to serve the role of Head Counselor. Through this role, I was able to coordinate and collaborate with other counselors and share ideas on fun interactive activities for campers. I look forward to utilizing my organizational and leadership skills in addition to my interest in biology to this internship. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Your Name Enclosure: resume This is to be used as a REFERENCE ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT COPY EXACT STATEMENTS for your letter. Every cover letter must be tailored to the job for which you are applying!
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