Admission News

Graduate to a Great Cover Letter

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May graduation for college students is just around the corner. Some are lucky enough to already have jobs, but most are still in the job hunting mode. One of the most important ways to sell yourself is through your cover letter which is designed to not only highlight your résumé but also to identify your strengths and the personal characteristics you can bring to a specific job. The cover letter for each j0b you apply to should be written anew.

But, there is a basic format for all cover letters. The cover letter should be consistently block form, with everything starting at the left margin, or with traditional paragraph indentations, in which case things like the date and your address will end at the right margin, as will your closing. Make sure you have an address and that you have a name for your salutation and inside address.

Your first paragraph should identify the position you are applying for and how you learned about the potion.

The second paragraph is about your education. You need to highlight things on your résumé. Don’t stop at talking about your courses and your grades. You need to mention important presentations or projects, honors and awards, even extracurricular activities if your position of leadership or your work with others is connected to the job you are applying for.

The third paragraph should be about your work experience, that is, work that is related to the position you are applying for. You can also mention work experience that demonstrates you have organizational skills or creativity, or list experiences that will help demonstrate you have skills related to the job, even if it is not on your résumé.

The next paragraph is for you to sell yourself. Why is this job a good fit? Does their mission statement match your philosophy? Have you visited and liked the work atmosphere? Are you familiar with their goals?

The last sentence or paragraph can be about how you expect to be back in touch and to thank them for their consideration.
The closing should have your name typed with phone and email contacts below your signature.

This format can help you think about your cover letter, but your very best resource is your college’s Career and Placement Office/Center. Almost every campus has one and few are well-used, but they are great for tips for job hunts as well as contacts for jobs.  Another option is to get help online through  contacting the Resume Writing and Cover Letter Services for college graduates at Essay Edge.  Check them out.