Feb
6

Brief Tips for Writing Successful Cover Letters

Why a cover letter?

  1. You can?t send a resume naked
  2. It is business etiquette, common courtesy
  3. Pessimistic view: to keep reader from throwing away resume
  4. Optimistic view: see it as a sales letter that tells the target employer what you will do for him/her
  5. It supports your resume, in which you will go into more detail

Ingredients that set a productive cover letter apart:

  1. A strong opening
  2. An appeal to the employer?s self-interest
  3. Facts that highlight your qualifications and accomplishments
  4. Creating desire within the employer
  5. A call to action

A Strong Opening:

Tell the employer who you are and why you are writing to them. Address the target employer by name; if responding to a blind ad, try to go the extra mile and find the name of the person who has the power to hire you. If you have spoken to them previously or have some connection to the establishment, remind the employer of it.

Appealing to the Employer?s Self-Interest:

Tell the employer what you have to offer. Everything you say about yourself should be in the context of what you can bring to the employer. By addressing your reader?s needs rather than your own, you will be heard. Explain valuable aspects of your experience in terms of how it will benefit the employer. Be specific, but brief. Since you will be fresh out of school, emphasize internships, volunteer work, any activity that demonstrates leadership and self-motivation.

Creating Desire/Call to Action

Suggest that the great things you?ve already mentioned are within reach for the employer. Let them know when you will be available to work, how you are going to follow up with them and what action should be taken next. Always try to elicit a request for an interview or meeting.