Here is a scenario: You are in the midst of applying for a job, submitted your resume and then the "Add a Cover letter" option comes up. Oh no! And now you have to write a cover letter....ugh!
Cover letter writing can seem like such a daunting task; however, it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips for writing a great cover letter from one of your Career Peers, Natalia Alfaro, who proofreads a lot of cover letters while working at the Career Center.
While you are writing, here are 10 tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter:
- Cover Letters Should Expand On Experience, Not Repeat The Resume
- All experiences you write about in your cover letter should be listed on your resume. But be mindful not to summarize your resume in your cover letter.
- Keep It Short And To The Point
- Ideal cover letters are 3/4-page to a full page in length. A cover letter that uses purposeful and precise wording conveys strong communication skills. Click here for a formatting guide
- Open With Position and Source
- Whoever reads your letter will first want to know how you found out about this position and what position you're applying for. So it is recommended to include this information in your opening sentence. Click here for sample cover letters.
- Make it clear that you spent time researching the organization and that you understand their work and mission. Gather information from sources such as the organization's website, LinkedIn, etc.
- Explain Why You Want The Position
- Each cover letter you write should always answer the question, "Why this position?" Explain how this position fits with your career goals and why you’re interested or excited about this position, preferably in the opening paragraph.
- Describe Your Specific Contributions
- List one or two examples of how your skills, experiences, and qualities directly fit the company's needs and position description. Answer questions such as: "How can the company benefit from your experiences?" and "What are you bringing to the table?"
- Be Convincing
- This is a letter to persuade the recruiter that you are qualified and right for the position. Focus on your strengths and use positive, powerful nouns and adjectives (Page 16 of the Career Guide).
- Avoid Overusing "I"
- Minimize the use of "I", "me", and "my". Instead, use "you" and "your". For example, instead of "I believe your company would benefit...." try "Your company could benefit from...."
- End With a Strong Action Statement
- The final paragraph should clearly state the exact manner in which you will follow up and request an interview, as well as how the recruiter can contact you.
- Proofread !!!
- Re-read your letter, Schedule an appointment at the Career Center in Handshake, or attend drop-in hours to have your letter reviewed by a Career Peer.
Cover letter writing is a learned skill; the more you write the better you will get! So don't stress, and use all the resources the Career Center offers. Good luck on your cover letter writing!