Finding a Summer Job - Step 4: Write Dynamic Cover Letters


Step 4: Write Dynamic Cover Letters

Every time you submit your résumé to a potential employer you should try to send a cover letter with it. The cover letter introduces you to the employer. It also allows you to emphasize the relevant skills and qualifications that you possess, to show that you would make an excellent candidate for the position.

A cover letter has two important purposes; to get the potential employer to read your résumé, and, in combination with your résumé, get them interested enough to schedule an interview with you. It is very important to indicate, through your cover letter, why this company should hire you over the other potential candidates.

It is not the place to reiterate every point already stated on your résumé. You have to entice the employer to want to read your résumé. Your cover letter should not be longer than four paragraphs, and the letter itself should be no longer than one page.

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

Heading – should include your contact information, the employer’s name and address, and the date.

Introduction – always begin your letter with a greeting (e.g. Dear Mr./Ms. Smith). Do your best to find out the person’s name and correct title. In the first paragraph, indicate the specific position you are applying for. If you are responding to a job ad let them know how you heard about the opening (e.g. career board, newspaper, etc.). Be sure to tell the employer why you are interested in working for their organization and what you can bring to the position/industry.

Body – should generally be one or two paragraphs in length. This section is where you are given the opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job. It is wise to emphasize your assets according to the key qualifications that the employer has listed in the job description. This is a great place to show how your skills from previous experiences are relevant to this position. Also, you can use this section to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and of their organization. Do not give too much of your résumé away.

Closing – this is the best place for you to clearly state what happens next (when you will contact the employer to set up an interview, or that you look forward to hearing from them on the status of your application). It is also very important to thank the employer for taking the time to review your application. Lastly, it is professional to end the letter using the phrase “Sincerely” and printing your name beneath your signature.

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