careerBUZZ: Keep Calm and Write a Cover Letter

Monday, November 3, 2014 - 8:42am

Writing a cover letter can seem like a difficult and intimidating endeavor. However, being able to write an effective cover letter increases your chances for landing the job you desire. The reason being that a cover letter is quite often the first impression you make with a company. Here are some helpful tips to make your next cover letter your best yet.

1. Don’t restate your resume

An effective cover letter highlights the qualifications you have related to the position as stated in the job description. In order to do this, simply expand upon the skills attained through the experiences listed on your resume. However, be careful not to simply restate your resume. Avoid phrases like “as you can see on my resume…” and explain in depth what you did in your past experiences. An example of this would be: “Through my internship experiences, I have gained x, y, and z skills that make me a great candidate for this position.”

2. Do your homework

Take the time to check out a company’s website to learn as much as you can about your potential employer in order to write how you will meet their goals and needs. A company’s website also provides what they value in their employees. Use these values as well as the job description to help guide your language in your cover letter.

3. Don’t be needy

Avoid language such as “I feel,” I think,” and/or “I believe.” It is important to write assertively and express yourself with confidence. State why you are interested in this position and what skills you have to offer the company without coming off as needy. Take this opportunity to highlight your achievements and demonstrate what makes you the best candidate.

4. Establish an effective topic sentence

Topic sentences make a point and give reasons or examples to support it. All the sentences that follow this topic sentence must relate to it in some way. This allows you to demonstrate your ability for this position and help establish your credibility as to why you are a good fit.

5. Tailor your cover letter

Your cover letter needs to be tailored toward each position you are applying for. You should be able to persuade in your letter that your goals align with the job requirement. Another thing to include in your resume is the name of the person you are contacting about the job. Try to avoid addressing the letter to “Whom it May Concern” or “Hiring Committee.” This shows that you are respectful and professional.

So when it comes time to write a cover letter, stay calm and follow these tips. If you are still having trouble, remember that your friends at the Pomerantz Career Center are available Monday through Friday to help you! 

-Written by Hannah Ebbing, student blogger