Cover Letter Workshop. Career Development Centre

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1 Cover Letter Workshop Career Development Centre

2 Learning Objectives To understand the purpose of a cover letter To understand what makes a cover letter effective Become aware of the cover letter resources available through the Career Development Centre

3 Purpose of a Cover Letter 1. Introduce yourself 2. Indicate your reason for sending the letter 3. Demonstrate your interest and suitability 4. Expand on information presented in the resumé and why it adds value to the target job

4 When do you think the cover letter is reviewed? The majority of employers read the cover letter after an initial review of the resumé

5 3 Types of Cover Letters 1. Responding to a specific job posting 2. Referral by another person 3. Prospecting (inquiring about potential positions) as Cover Letter? Best option: include a brief and attach your Cover Letter and Resumé in one word document

6 What Makes a Cover Letter Effective? Targeted to the job, industry and employer Demonstrates suitability, by showing that you know and understand your qualifications as they relate to the job Shows the employer you understand how you will make a tangible contribution to the organization Focuses on what you will do in the future, on the job; not what you have done in past jobs

7 This Means You Must: Do your homework on the industry and organization, and individually target each application Understand the key job requirements Know your most relevant qualifications Do not simply restate a lot of details from your resumé expand and connect Focus on a few key points, perhaps 4-6 key themes or qualifications (do not try to cover everything)

8 An Effective Cover Letter Third Second First Content Structure Appearance Sound Relevant? Letter Structure Professional Appearance

9 First - Appearance Consistency: between resumé and cover letter format Header: style should match your resumé

10 First - Appearance Keep graphics to a minimum and inline with your target audience

11 First - Appearance Margins: be consistent and leave some white space Font: selective use of colour and same font

12 Second - Structure Maximum of one page! (very few exceptions)

13 50% of Canadian employers prefer a 1 page cover letter while 37% said they would accept half a page

14 Second - Structure 3-5 Paragraphs of Content: Opening paragraph introduction and greeting Middle paragraphs content and connection (3 different options for the middle paragraph layout) Closing paragraph wrap up and follow up

15 What to Include? Your contact information Date of mailing Addressee Reference # Body of letter Your name/signature Structure = Three Layout Options 1. Paragraph Layout

16 Additional Layout Options 2. Bolded Points 3. Skills Match

17 Third - Content When you know the name of the addressee: Begin with a personal greeting: Dear or To Use a proper title: Mr. or Ms. or Dr. If you do not know the person s gender, address the person by their first and last name (do not guess at gender): For example, To Robin Smith, or, Dear Robin Smith

18 Third - Content When you do not know the name: Address your letter to a specific position or committee. For example: To the Director of Human Resources Dear Hiring Manager Can call the company to discern exact name of screener Dear Sir/Madam To Whom It May Concern

19 Keys to the Opening Paragraph The name of the position or department How you learned of the opportunity (i.e., referral) One or two key qualifications to grab employer s attention *Why you are interested in this position or organization (be brief)

20 Responding to a Specific Posting

21 Prospecting Keeps the ball in his court

22 Content The Main Body This section may contain 2 to 3 paragraphs What are you trying to do in this section? Demonstrate that you know the key components and functions of the job Present your relevant and transferable skills and connect them to the job

23 Content - Connect to the Job Tell the reader how your skills will aid you in succeeding at the requirements of the job you are trying to secure Examples: Server in Restaurant Seeking Entry-Level Marketing Position In addition to my marketing coursework, I have employed marketing and customer-service skills in the restaurant field. In my most recent position, I marketed appetizers, desserts, and other add-ons to customers and added value to their dining experience. I would like to apply the same sales savvy and interpersonal skills in the marketing position with your firm.

24 Content - Connect to the Job Tell the reader how your skills will aid you in succeeding at the requirements of the job you are trying to secure: Examples: Resident Don Seeking Sales Position I am very excited about contributing my talents in the field of professional selling. I have heard a number of times that sales skills are taught, and there is no such thing as a natural-born salesperson. I couldn't agree more! I have served as a resident advisor for two years, and I was very surprised at how much selling goes on. I have learned quickly that the more you know about your customer, your product, and how to adapt to each situation, the easier the sale becomes. My success in selling my ideas to residents and administrators makes me an ideal candidate for your training program.

25 Content Options Option 1: Organized based on what you offer Discuss the relevance of your educational and/or training Discuss the relevance of your experiences (paid/unpaid) Option 2: Organized based on the job demands Example: Customer/client management needs of job Technical/administrative needs of job Do not repeat specific details and facts from your resumé

26 Content - Selling Qualifications When discussing specific skills/qualifications: Do not simply list a number of skills and claim to have them Do provide relevant, specific examples of key skills Do indicate that you understand how the key skills are relevant or how they will be used on the job My background working with the public has provided me with the skills to effectively manage customer inquiries and relationships. My ability to listen and explain information with clarity and enthusiasm makes the customers feel welcome. This will be a benefit to your organization when you seek to increase repeat customer business.

27 Content Selling Education Mention specific, relevant skills you developed or knowledge you acquired during your training (do not list your courses) Focus on your applied knowledge and its relevance do not focus on the fact that you learned something Do not say During my studies I learned.... Instead, say... My knowledge of (finance or child development, and so on) includes.... or I understand the importance of.

28 Content Selling Experience When discussing previous work experiences: Mention specific relevant skills you developed, but do not focus on the exact job where you developed them For example, if you had previous experience working as an assistant manager at a retail store, you do not need to list the job title and name of the store. You could say... As a result of my previous experience working in retail managing complaints from the public, I have a solid understanding...

29 Content Closing Paragraph Avoid being too repetitive, bland or generic Show your understanding of yourself and the job by selecting insightful points Summarize 2 or 3 key, unique points I am very interested in using my skills in coordination and planning, in particular my ability to identify opportunities and generate public interest to assist your team as an....

30 Content Closing Paragraph Express your interest in meeting with the employer If you are responding to an advertised position, invite the employer to contact you If the application was unsolicited invite the employer to contact you but indicate that you will contact him/her and within a time frame if you don t hear from them I will be in Toronto on Sept 2 nd. Would it be possible to arrange an opportunity to meet? I will contact you early next week to arrange a convenient time. If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact me.

31 Final Tips Ensure your letter is error free Always target your letter to an organization and a specific job or department Your letter should compliment and build from your resumé Your letter should reflect you (your style, language and personality) Always follow-up on every letter you send

32 Career Resources Resumé Guidebook wlu.ca/career Resumé & Cover Letter critiques in-person, telephone, or skype Resumé & Cover Letter proofreading service For quick questions, visit our drop-in, (Monday to Thursdays, 1 3 p.m.)

33 Connect With Us! x4495 wlu.ca/career facebook.com/lauriercareercentre lauriercareercentre.wordpress.com linkedin.com (Laurier Career Centre group)

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