4 Cover Letter

Writing a Cover Letter

Part 1 Purpose

The purpose of a cover letter is to get an interview - not a job.

How do you get an interview?
  • By telling a story in the cover letter.
  • Your story matches your skills with the job requirements.

How do you do that?
  • Follow a 3 step process.

Part 2: Three Steps

  1. Read
  2. Write
  3. Use Magic Words

Step 1 Read Job Advertisement

Every job advertisement tells you the skills and qualities the company wants.

Read the advertisement.
Find the top requirements that match your skills.

Many job advertisements for new grads ask for:
  • good communication 
  • leadership skills
  • good attitude (e.g. problem solver, work independently, etc)

Step 2 Write a Cover Letter

Write a new cover letter for each company. 
  • Some parts can be reused.
  • You have to make the letter different for each company.

Don't copy a template.
  • Company managers see lots of resumes. They will know if you copied your cover letter. 
  • If you copy, they will probably put yours in the garbage can.

Step 3 Use 2 Magic Words

Use THAT MEANS to connect your experience to the job requirements.

For example, a company wants someone with these skills:

Must have:
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Leadership in school activities 
  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite

You might write this in the middle of your cover letter.

 In brief, here is how my background matches the job requirements:
  • I worked part-time for 2 years in a restaurant to help pay for my university studies. That means I have excellent organisational skills, a customer-first attitude and strong work ethic.
  • As Vice-President of the university’s Newspaper Club, I helped lead a team of 17 people. That means I am able to motivate people to complete big projects.
  • I have an MS Office certificate. That means I know how to use a software like MS Word, Excel and Access.

Now imagine you are the company manager.  You read this cover letter. What do you think?

This person has the skills I need.
I want to talk to this person.

Great job. 
Now you have an interview.

Part 3: Basic Template

A cover letter has 7 basic parts.

1 Contact information
  • your email and phone number
  • address?
2 Company Contact
  • If you apply to an online job, you might not know all of this information.
3. Greeting
  • Dear Ms Lee
  • To whom it may concern
4 Reason
  • Say job name and where you saw the job advertisement
5 Short Profile
  • Important. 
  • Your elevator pitch.
  • 1-2 sentences about why you are a good match for the job.
6 Body
Connect your skills and qualities to the job's top 2-3 requirements.
  • Use the magic words.
7 Closing
  • Show some excitement.
  • Say Thank you.

Wrap Up

  • Read the cover letter many times. 
  • Find and fix spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Write a new letter for each different job.

Good luck.