Here are some quick tips to help make your cover letters grab attention in today's competitive job market:
- never begin the letter, or any paragraph with the word “I. ” Instead, describe yourself in a more useful way, like “As a senior Mechanical Engineering major at XYZ University, I am searching. . . ”
- the entire cover letter should be no more than three or four paragraphs long and no paragraph should be more than about five or six lines.
- the first paragraph should be a brief introduction of yourself and the purpose of the letter. If someone referred you to this person, state that up-front for immediate attention and added credibility.
- the second paragraph should highlight your skills and/or experience that are directly related to the job or internship you are applying for—if you have a lot of impressive experience, go ahead to three paragraphs.
- don’t spell out details of your experience—give them the big picture and draw them into reading your resume to get the specifics. - mention particularly impressive part-time jobs, internships, and co-ops by the company’s name and mention the particular work done.
- in the last paragraph, state exactly what you want: a full-time job after graduation, an internship (state when, for how long, full or part time), an information interview, etc. Then close up with an appropriate action, such as “I will see you at the job fair on (date)” or “Please call at your earliest convenience to discuss. . . ”
- don’t mention salary.
- always close on an appreciative tone—such as “Thank you for your time and serious consideration of my resume for (position). ”
In today’s competitive job market, don’t leave anything to chance. Use these quick tips as a checklist before sending out those cover letters in order to give yours the best chance of ending up on the top of the pile.
Kathryn Marion is the President of Education for RealityTM, a company dedicated to helping young people Sidestep the School of Hard KnocksSM by providing unique resources that are jam-packed with savvy advice on every facet of life on their own. Their bestselling ebook, Success in the ‘Real World', covers everything from careers and money to legal matters and cooking, all in an easy-to-read and -reference bulleted format which makes finding what you need fast and easy. The book also includes live links to over 100 additional online resources, making this the most thorough and useful resource available for students and graduates. Sign up for Education for RealityTM's free, monthly newsletter, Dose of RealityTM, on their website: http://www.EducationForReality.com Profitable fundraising and affiliate opportunities are also available for groups and individuals.