Cover Letters

Applying for work can be an intimidating process. Too often, job seekers become overwhelmed with the process. Some of us battle with negative thoughts that obstruct our progress. Practice a positive mindset. Change your inner dialogue from "I probably won't get it." to "Why not me?"  and follow through on jobs that appeal to you. Until you receive a job offer, you haven't gained or lost anything. 

A proper cover letter will use the same heading, typeface, font, and formatting as your resume. You are essentially creating your own stationery. Consistency is key. Cover letters are generally one page in length. Use the process outlined below to help you create a cover letter for each position to which you apply. 

Review the Job Description
What are the educational requirements?
How much experience is required? Preferred?
What skills are required? Preferred?
What is the organization's mission statement? 
How does the advertised position fit the mission of the organization? 

Writing the Cover Letter
How does your academic background match the educational requirements?
How does your experience meet the required/preferred requirements?
How do your skills meet the required/preferred requirements?
What specific examples from your education and experience can you communicate that demonstrate the skills sought by the employer?
How will you help the organization meet its goals?

Cover Letter Tips
  • Be cordial & confident. 
  • Use an active voice.
  • Avoid using "I" statements.
  • Use a formal business letter structure. Formatting is identical to your resume -your personal stationery. 
  • Know who will be receiving the letter and address it to them. (Tip: If not indicated in posting, search LinkedIn or call the company and request the name of the individual heading up the job search.) 
  • Put your writing skills on display. Draw a connection from your skills, education, experience (and passion, when appropriate), to the advertised posting. Yet, avoid regurgitating what is on your resume. 
  • Make it personal. Create a digital signature: sign, scan, crop, & insert. Note: A digital signature should be different from anything you use for banking and contractual purposes. 
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread.
  • Convert to PDF and (e)mail with your resume.
Structure
Opening Paragraph - Indicates the position to which you are applying. State how you learned of the position. If through an inside contact or mutual acquaintance, state such. Communicate why you want to work for the organization. Share what you know about the company. 
Body (one or more paragraphs) - Draw the connection between your skills and qualifications and the tasks to be performed in the role. Share how you overcame challenges to be successful in previous roles. 
Closing - Thank the reader for their time and tactfully let them know that you want to discuss your qualifications for the posting (and other employment opportunities). Make yourself available for an in-person or phone interview. Feeling assertive? Let them know what day and time you will be calling to discuss scheduling an interview or meeting. And then, do it! Be prepared to leave a message if they are unavailable. 
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