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Home >  Current Students >  Student Service Departments >  Student Life >  Career Center >  Career Planning >  Career Toolbox >  Cover Letter Tips/Example > 
Cover Letters    
From the Wall Street Journal...
http://guides.wsj.com/careers/how-to-start-a-job-search/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/

The cover letter is your introduction to employers. It should be a brief and direct note that’s tailored to the position and firm you’re targeting. Whenever possible, address it to a specific person by name, ideally the hiring manager for the job.

Cover letters should convey why you are writing and how the firm could benefit from hiring you. Before you begin writing, do some research on the employer to help you come up with ideas to make it original. A letter that shows you’ve done your homework and understand the company’s specific challenges can be a powerful differentiator.

Make sure your cover letters accurately reflect your personality. For instance, don’t send forward, aggressive letters if you’re introverted and laid-back. And try letting others sing your praises. If a former supervisor still maintains to this day that you’re the best at something, include a quote from him or her, the person’s name and title.

It’s generally recommended not to mention salary in cover letters. Employers will typically ask for your salary requirements in a phone screening or during the interview process. But if you’re responding to an ad that requests this information, cite a range or acknowledge the request and add that you’ll be glad to discuss compensation during an interview.

Finally, ask a trusted friend, mentor or career adviser to review your cover letters before sending them to make sure they lack typos and read smoothly.

Tips:
  • Keep it short and simple. Add a short p.s. notation at the end if there’s something specific that you want to stand out.
  • Mention specific challenges or pieces of news involving the company that proves you’ve done your research and are serious about the position.
  • Get feedback from friends or a trusted mentor before sending your letter to a prospective employer.
STRUCTURE OF A COVER LETTER
Your address
(space)
Date
(space)
Their name
Their address
(space)
Dear __________:
(space)
Paragraph #1: Why you are writing. 1) To apply for a job or internship. 2) To gather information or set up an information interview. Clarify how you found out about the person or position. Create a bridge between you and the person receiving this letter.
(space)
Paragraph #2: What you know about the employer or position. Skills needed. Put your skills into their context.
(space)
Paragraph #3-5 if needed: How you fit. Where you have successfully used the skills they need. You will write single concept paragraphs about your skills using the STAR method to tell your stories.
(space)
Paragraph #6 or final paragraph: Thank the reader for their time and consideration and clarify what you will do next: 1) Call them in three business days; or, 2) Wait for them to call you.
(space)
Sincerely,
(space for your signature)
(space for your signature)
(space for your signature)

Your name (Your signature goes in the three spaces above your name)
(space)
Enclosure: Resume, Writing Sample, Portfolio, etc.

Tips:
  • A sans serif font (e.g. calibri, helvetica, geneva)
  • 11 pt font
  • One page
  • Send only as a PDF attachment
Sample Cover Letter    
Dear Mr. Robertson,

I was very excited to hear from John Smith that you are looking for someone to fill the position of Office and Programs Assistant.  

From what John has told me about this position I believe I am an excellent match.  Given my education (a BS in Sustainable Living with a minor in Business), excellent office and communication skills, and my eager interest in your foundation's mission of promoting sustainable agriculture, I would appreciate your considering me for this job.  I have enclosed my resume for your review.

I am a highly organized individual, capable of managing multiple tasks at once. I am self-sufficient but also have considerable experience playing team sports and working on group projects like Habitats for Humanity. I am highly proficient with office technology and computer savvy.  My university education has included a wide range of Business and Sustainable Living coursework (please see my resume for “Relevant Courses”), projects and internships, including working at the headquarters of the Sierra Club as an assistant to the director.  

With this knowledge and experience and my passion for sustainable agriculture, I believe I have the understanding, the skills and the motivation not only to excel in the Office and Programs Assistant position but to be an increasingly valuable asset for The Green Foundation in the years to come.

Thank you so much. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Respectfully yours,

Rachel Adams 

Enclosure: Resume

 
 
 
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