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Old 04-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #1
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Cover Letters

Does anyone have some advice on how to do these well? I always feel so stupid after I write them, I don't know why I can't just get it through my head how to do it, I've done it enough by now.

If anyone has some advice, I'd appreciate it. There's a job I really want to have a shot at at least, and I don't want to blow it because of the cover letter.

Thanks, guys!
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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i just use a word template and ask my mom what to write

usually i just sum up what makes me qualified for the job - past experience, # of years experience (including any extra training or anything), skills, etc. and also mention my preferred contact method, since my resumé's got at least one phone number plus e-mail.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:42 PM   #3
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I write/edit them a lot, even for other people and try to keep track of how many I write vs. how many of the applications get call backs or interviews. You can e-mail it to me if you want and I can look it over. Disclaimer: I do not work in HR

Some of it is subjective (once I submitted a sample to two people in HR and one said she'd be tempted to hire me on the spot and the other didn't like it, lol) and some are formatted based on the industry/field of work. The cover letter is crucial though. We just hired someone for our team and I didn't even look at applicants that either did not submit a cover letter or had a terrible cover letter. If you're still in school or live near where you went to school, they probably have some career services for alumni and can review it for free (I know ours does and I went to a tiny school). I guess my main tips would be make sure it is not just a repeat of your resume. You need to apply your experiences to the specific position. Read the job description very carefully and work that into the cover letter. Generally I use the same formate: first paragraph states what job I'm applying for, where I found out about the job, and my career objective. Second paragraph talks about character traits specific for that position (here is where I try to work in key words/phrases from the job description: detail oriented, multi-tasker, self-starter, stuff like that). Third paragraph expounds on a few previous work or school experiences or relevant qualifications. Fourth paragraph just thanks for consideration, this is how to reach me.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:56 PM   #4
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The most important thing to keep in mind as you write is to be concise but informative. Try not to use any more words than are necessary to make your point, because the employer is likely going to be looking at many, many applicants. You need to make your case quickly and powerfully - preferably in no more than one page.

Try to find out who will be reading the letter, and address that person by name. Then have a short (perhaps two sentences) introduction that states a personal interest in the job - that is, why you want the job beyond the money - and summarizes your qualifications.

The body should attempt to orient your professional experience to the job description as closely as possible. Then close by reiterating the intro and offering a valediction. Some will tell you to write something like "I look forward to hearing from you," but this, I think, can be presumptuous. You want the tone to be confident, but not arrogant. I would recommend "Thank you for your consideration." Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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I had to write a few last year, and it was this:
A few friends helped, and read them over for me, made suggestions and changes. Basically you are selling yourself. I think the advice above is very good. You can Google for samples to get ideas. I think once you do it, then subsequent letters can be tweaked according to the job description. Then again, I didn't get anywhere with my letters, so what do I know, right? I'm temping thru an agency at the moment. I did apply for a job recently and had to write a cover letter, so perhaps they did like the last one. I was interviewed for the position, which I was informed by friends required thank you letters to be written as a follow up. Now just waiting to hear back. :tapping:

Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:27 PM   #6
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I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate writing resumes. Not that I've ever really needed one... so when I do I'll probs be stuffed
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:39 PM   #7
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It's been over five years since I had to apply for a job out in the wild...

That advice all sounds solid, good luck!
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I write/edit them a lot, even for other people and try to keep track of how many I write vs. how many of the applications get call backs or interviews. You can e-mail it to me if you want and I can look it over. Disclaimer: I do not work in HR
I would very much appreciate that.

Quote:
If you're still in school or live near where you went to school, they probably have some career services for alumni and can review it for free (I know ours does and I went to a tiny school).
My school does have that as an option, but, no, I'm almost a full year graduated at this point, and am nowhere near there. I wonder if they have an on-line option .


Thank you everyone for the advice. At some point tonight I'm going to crack down and write this thing. Hopefully it goes well. You'll know if I ever post in this thread again, lol.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:23 AM   #9
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good luck man
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