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Cover Letter.

kwilkinson

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Okay, I know a lot of you'z guys are big buffs at your companies who see hundreds of cover letters and resumes each year. Now I'm asking for your help with a cover letter for myself.
I need to get a job, badly. I have long term goals for myself in my industry and all of these goals hinge upon the ability to get a job or a stagiareship and get started working and learning all the ropes. I think my resume is okay---- the "resume" guy at my school helped me with it, although I'm still not entirely certain it's perfect.

Anyway, do any of you have protips on writing a good cover letter?
 

Stazy

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Dumb question: what purpose does a cover letter serve?
 

kwilkinson

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Originally Posted by Stazy
Dumb question: what purpose does a cover letter serve?

Dumb response: +1. I have no idea, but people keep telling me not to submit resume without it.

Edit: okay, that's a lie. I realize that a cover letter is supposed to:
Explain why you're submitting a resume
Be specific about the position you're applying for
Show that you have knowledge about the organization
Give the reader a reason to look at your resume
Refer to any information requested in a job ad
Give information about how you may follow up.
 

crazyquik

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Originally Posted by Stazy
Dumb question: what purpose does a cover letter serve?

I have never understood that either. We all know that you're energetic, motivated, a hard worker, dedicated, and can really help Company X if someone gives you Job Y
 

ryoneo

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Well, I have only dealt with writing/reading cover letters in the education field, so I'm not sure how much this will help. Many of the cover letters that I have seen or written usually states a few things about yourself. One would include strengths, such as education and work ethic. You might want to talk about volunteer work and other jobs that you might have/had. Also, I would put what you can do for the employer and the job that you are applying for. Include skills and interests if you think it would help "sell" yourself. Hope that helps in some way.
 

JoeWoah

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This thread needs some examples of winning cover letters.
 

SkinnyGoomba

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word 2007 has some templates you can Download from the microsoft site.

i think this is going to be very dependent on where you apply for a job.
 

Pelikan2

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Originally Posted by Stazy
Dumb question: what purpose does a cover letter serve?

Depending upon the job for which you're applying, I think the main function of a cover letter is to evaluate your writing ability, which is likely a proxy for intelligence, attention to detail, creativity, etc. Of course, this might not be particularly true for positions that don't rely upon communication.
 

Piobaire

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The goal of the cover letter is to spur the reader to read the resume. The goal of the resume is to get you an interview. The goal of the interview is to proceed to the next round, or get a job offer, as applicable. It's a logical progression.

CV should not re-state the resume. State the position you are applying for, and a couple of, very briefly stated, resume highlights, to entice the reader to proceed to a serious read of your resume.
 

emptym

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Answer three questions:

What do I want to do?
Why is this the place for me to do it?
Why am I prepared to do it at this place?

In one page. And have multiple people proofread it.
Do an outline to get your major points down.
Create good transitions when moving from point to point so that it flows well.
 

Piobaire

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Btw, I spend about 30 seconds deciding on a resume, whether to really consider it or not. Write me a book in a C.V., you stand zero chance. I've seen research that indicates I am about average in this.

Yup, try this Google: resume average read time
 

Dakota rube

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Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba
word 2007
That is so last year...
 

gdl203

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Originally Posted by crazyquik
I have never understood that either. We all know that you're energetic, motivated, a hard worker, dedicated, and can really help Company X if someone gives you Job Y


^^^ this is exactly what you should not write in a cover letter

1) If your resume speaks for itself and implies a natural progression towards the position you're applying for, the cover letter is a simple introduction with basic facts around the position you're applying for and your desire to set up an interview to discuss your application.

2) If your resume/experience are not likely to land you the position (e.g. career switcher), then your cover letter needs to accomplish a lot more. Read emptym's questions and try to answer them honestly first to yourself, then in a proper written way. Don't be too long - limit yourself to a handful of clear ideas you want to get across. If it's not too late, do NOT use templates. Canned ideas and sentences are a major turnoff, especially if the position encompasses a level of creativity anywhere above zero.

3) If your resume is simply part of a large resume drop for a position/internship, then see 1). Except nobody will actually read it and will go straight to your resume.

The purpose of the resume and letter is limited to one simple outcome: getting you an interview. That's what you want. Don't just drop your resume and wait for the call. Call or email and re-iterate your interest for the job and your desire to come in for an interview.
 

DocHolliday

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I really cannot overstate the importance of a cover letter, at least in the fields with which I'm familiar. They're the single best clue an employer has about the applicant. I saw one just today in which the company's name had clearly been cut and pasted into a form letter. Different font, different size. That one was destined for the trash. Ironically, he was applying for a design position. If you are by far the best qualified applicant for a job, the cover letter becomes less important. But if you're fighting it out, especially straight out of school, it's your best hope to impress. And if you are the ubercandidate, the odds are good you know how to write a decent cover letter. Just think about the posts you see from SF n00bs who can't be bothered to capitalize words or spell correctly. They get the hell flamed out of them. And that's the same reaction an employer will have to a slapdash cover letter.
 

JayJay

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
I really cannot overstate the importance of a cover letter, at least in the fields with which I'm familiar. They're the single best clue an employer has about the applicant. I saw one just today in which the company's name had clearly been cut and pasted into a form letter. Different font, different size. That one was destined for the trash. Ironically, he was applying for a design position. If you are by far the best qualified applicant for a job, the cover letter becomes less important. But if you're fighting it out, especially straight out of school, it's your best hope to impress. And if you are the ubercandidate, the odds are good you know how to write a decent cover letter. Just think about the posts you see from SF n00bs who can't be bothered to capitalize words or spell correctly. They get the hell flamed out of them. And that's the same reaction an employer will have to a slapdash cover letter.
I concur, completely. The cover letter reveals a lot about the applicant's skills and professionalism. Many great resumes never get read because of a very poorly written cover letter.
 

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