Background As we discussed earlier this week, writing a cover letter requires you to use strong word choice to help persuade your audience that you are the best individual for the job, or at the very least, you merit an interview. There are many elements that go into making up a successful cover letter, but the format and word choice are two of the most important. In general, you should state why you want to work for the company, and how your skills and experience help you meet the requirements of the position. Format Your cover letter should have the following format and elements: Contact Information: Your contact information, including your name, phone number, and email address. The salutation: Most people will put something like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you can identify who will be reviewing the cover letter, it’s well worth the time it will take. One way to do this is to call the office or do a web search to find the right name. It’s rare other applicants will go to this same effort, and it will make you stand out if you’re able to use a specific name. Intro paragraph: Don’t waste your time saying, “I’m applying for the _____ position.” This is your opening line, and it should be unique and memorable. In this paragraph, describe why you’re interested in the job and company, and what makes you a good fit. Body paragraphs: You should have between 2-3 body paragraphs, depending on the length. The cover letter should only be a single page, so you will need to be selective about what and how much you include. Review the job posting and focus on what they are looking for, and then, tell a story about yourself and how you meet those requirements. Be specific. If you revamped a process or procedure that paid off for your current or former workplace, state what the impact was. Many hiring managers and application systems use algorithms to looks for exact phrases. If you specifically meet some of the criteria on the job posting, mimic the word choice in the posting. This raises the chance that your cover letter will be plucked from the pile. Closing paragraph: This is where you re-state why you are interested in the position, why you are passionate about working with this specific company. You also want to reiterate why you would make a good fit and how you would contribute. Call-to-action: Don’t say something like, “I’ll email you tomorrow to set up an interview,” as that would be incredibly presumptuous. Instead, use verbiage that invites them to contact you in a polite manner. An example would be, “I am excited to have the chance to speak with you to learn more about the position and share more information about my experience. ” Word Choice You likely noticed some references to word choice in the section above. Cover letters are full of trite and common phrases that, if used, don’t exactly make you stand out. Think about how regularly the phrase “creative” is used. Instead, try “imaginative” or “innovative.” Instead of saying you are “determined”, try “tenacious” or “purposeful.” Instead of saying you are a “hard worker,” say you are “diligent” or “conscientious.” As noted above, try to avoid common phrases. This includes the first line in the cover letter, as well as phrases like, “I know my skills make me a great fit for the job.” Remember, you don’t have a lot of space in your cover letter. Don’t waste a single sentence on overused phrases. Resources and References Glassdoor. (2019). How to write a cover letter. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/ (Links to an external site.); Prompt For this assignment, you’re going to create a minimum 300-word cover letter from the sample resume (File Uploaded) for Elsa using a leadership position from a job posting that you will research on a career site (Indeed (Links to an external site.) , Monster (Links to an external site.) , LinkedIn (Links to an external site.)
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