While I’m not going to write out a full cover letter for you (because I would not be able to write anything but what has turned into my own cover letter –though I am pretty open to a peer review and critique), I would like to dedicate this blog post to something that tends to be the more difficult, and terribly done portion of answering a now hiring ad.
I am not going to say that I know the best way to compose a cover letter, or even that I know exactly which cover letter will get you the job. I simply hope to make a few points about what you might want to consider adding into the next CL you have to write.
Note: these are all points of advice I have accumulated from the Marketing Yourself course (Columbia College Chicago- highly suggest you take this class no matter what your major is; look it up!), as well as from my mentors and some other people that have looked over my work.
Key Points to Make in Your Cover Letter
(1) Mention why you are interested in the company and position you are applying for (it is very important to send them a “personalized” letter and not just a general cover letter. If for example, you aspire to intern for Elle Magazine, you will want to search their website for a Media Kit. This will have information like the magazines mission statement, demographics, readership and ad rates.
(2) Make a statement deeming why the company should hire you that will stick in the HR person’s brain.
(3) Look at the job description and explain at least two of the points from your resume more in depth (approximately 2-3 sentences). Do not say my strengths are organization, blah, and blah. Be specific and give details of your experiences that support the qualities they are looking for in a new hire.
(4) Thank your reader for their time, offer them a few ways to contact you with any questions, and let him/her know that you will be following up with him/her in x amount of time (two weeks is good), and MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW UP (if you’re not going to follow up, don’t even bother applying for a job). Click here to read more about following up.
Getting the Formatting Right
(1) Match your resume design to your cover letter design. Use a template (even if it is homemade… to learn how to design a nice “template” without fancy design skills click here)!
(2) In your heading you will want to include a direct contact name for the company if at all possible. If you have someone’s email address but do not have his/her full name, Google the email address — you will find what you need.
Distribution… Don’t Mess This Up!
(1) Before you send out your cover letter have three people read through it, print it out and read it yourself (and make sure it prints right and no margins are cut off).
(2) Sometimes companies want you to paste the cover letter in the actual email message and only attach the resume.
(3) Sometimes companies want you to attach both the cover letter and resume. If this is the case, I have been told that you should write something like:
(4) Do not forget to attach your resume to the email message! You will feel like a complete idiot… and the current interns at the company you are applying to work for will probably make fun of you and tell everyone about your mistake.
Here are some additional tips from someone who I feel is one of the best professional development coaches out there.