Career Exploration The Hiring Process
I found an ad for a great job, but it says, â€œSend rÃ©sumÃ© and cover letter.â€ Any tips for writing an effective cover letter?
A cover letter is an introduction between your rÃ©sumÃ© and the employer.
The point of a cover letter is to highlight your qualifications, calling special attention to the ones the employer is looking for. It is also a sample of your writing, so youâ€™ll want to give it your best efforts.
There are several ways to write a cover letter. One is the three-paragraph setup:
Â·Â Introduction paragraph: one or two sentences about how you found out about the job opening. If you can honestly drop a name, do so here; if someone the employer knows has recommended you for the job, you are way ahead of the rest of the pack.
Â·Â Can do paragraph: All the great things (in the employerâ€™s view) that you bring to the job. Be sure to use the employerâ€™s wording, job title, and the order of the qualifications (e.g., if he lists â€œMS Word, Excel and Accessâ€ as qualifications, you list them too, in the same order.)
Â·Â Next step paragraph: one or two sentences about what you expect to happen next: â€œI hope to hear from you soon regarding my qualifications and your opening,â€ or perhaps, â€œIâ€™ll call you on Thursday to set up an interview.â€ (Of course, in the second case, be sure you call when you say you will!)
Another way to write a cover letter is the side-by-side comparison. It goes something like this:
Typing speed of 45 wpm, 3 years of experience, ability to supervise staff of 5
Typing speed of 70 wpm, 5 years of experience, experience supervising staff of 8
This works best when your experience exceeds what the job lead requests.
Of course, proofread your cover letter, and get someone else to proofread it too! Use the Spell Checker and Grammar Checker, but do not trust them; get a live person to proofread your work.
To learn more about cover letters, you can attend the FCWS seminar â€œRÃ©sumÃ©s and Applications,â€ which also covers reference lists and cover letters. Check out our Events Calendar
for the next date and time.