Your resume and cover letter are some of the most important parts of your job application, and your goal in constructing these documents is to create effective marketing tools that will sell you as the best candidate for the position. Use OPIA’s resources to learn how to construct, revise, and send out your resume, cover letter, and any other application materials.
Public Interest Resumes
Public interest cover letters, application procedures, resume, cover letter, fellowship, and other application materials review service, your job search questions answered.
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Cover Letter Advice & Samples
Cover letter advice and samples.
- Draft your cover letter knowing it is your first writing sample.
- Understand that a cover letter should persuade the reader.
- Use the cover letter to “connect the dots” of your experiences.
- Resist the temptation to restate your resume.
- Keep your cover letter to one page.
- Use the font style and point size that match your resume.
- Remember that the reader is busy: less is more.
- Ensure your cover letter is error free.
Cover Letter Construction
Address block and salutation.
- Address the cover letter to an actual person.
- Avoid “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring committee.”
- Research websites or call employer to determine recipient’s name.
- For firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. For larger firms, contact information is available at www.nalpdirectory.com in the Basic Information section.
- In the salutation, include the recipient’s title and last name (e.g., “Dear Ms. Raintree”) or write the recipient’s entire name (e.g., “Dear Jamie Morales”).
- Tell the employer who you are and what you are seeking.
- Highlight (past, present, and future) geographic connections.
- Indicate if you have talked to students/faculty/friends/alumni who speak highly of the organization.
- Show that you understand the employer’s mission/practice, the work its attorneys do, and the clients it serves.
- Demonstrate your proven interest in and connection to that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Describe skills you will contribute to support that mission/practice, work, and clients.
- Provide evidence from your experiences and coursework.
- List the documents included with the letter.
- Tell the employer how to get in touch with you by email, telephone, and mail.
- Convey your availability for a conversation, mentioning upcoming trips to the area.
- Thank the employer for considering you.
- Mention availability of Yale summer funding, if applicable.
- Optional: Promise that you will follow up in a few weeks if you think the employer would appreciate the diligence.
Sample Cover Letters (PDF)
First Year Student Examples | Second Year Student Examples | Third Year Student Examples
E. common cover letter mistakes.
- Vide o and Slides from the CDO program “ Cover Letters That Do The Job” and handouts: Job Postings & Tips and Sample PIPS Cover Letters .
Your cover letter is as important as your resume because it is often read first and plays a vital role in your quest for an interview. A cover letter is not a transmittal letter, and you may be surprised at how time-consuming it is to craft a good one. A cover letter has a purpose, which is to let an employer know why they should bother reading your resume and why they should meet you. It also serves as an example of your written work product; thus it should be clear, brief, and written in a business letter style, without any typographical errors.
1. Cover letters for unsolicited applications come in three main types:
- Personal Letter. These are the most effective cover letters and are sent to people you have met or with whom you have a mutual acquaintance. These letters should all start with the sentence: “_______ recommended that I contact you.” As this type of letter is most likely to get a response, if you have any possibility of establishing this sort of connection to a prospective employer in advance of sending your letter, you should try your best to do so.
- Targeted Letters. Next best thing. Targeted letters are based on research of the employer, and are individually tailored. Your letter should incorporate the information learned through your research to show the employer that you have skills they will be able to put to use.
- Mass Mailers. Least desirable. These are generic except for the name and address of the employer, and have a very low success rate of getting interviews.
2. When you respond to a job listing, you will usually be requested to submit a cover letter as part of your application. In this case, use the job description and requested qualifications as a guide. While not simply imitating the language of the listing, your letter should demonstrate that you have what the employer is looking for.
3. A few employers at OCI request that students bring a cover letter to the initial interview. This is essentially to require students to think about why they want to work for this employer, but it makes for a letter which deviates from the usual “please consider me for an interview” approach. See below for suggestions on OCI cover letters.
Cover letters should follow standard business letter format, as to spacing, salutation, etc. If you are not sure of the fine points, consult a business correspondence reference source. Avoid abbreviations, contractions and shortcuts (such as a slash instead of “or”), although if there is an accepted short form of the name of the organization you are writing to (e.g., ACLU or Coblentz) it is acceptable to use it in the text of your letter. Your telephone number and email address should appear somewhere in the letter, either at the top with your address, or in the closing paragraph, when you ask them to contact you. Note that your resume is “enclosed,” not “attached” (which means clipped or stapled).
If you are not sure to whom you should send your letter, it is always acceptable to write to the executive director of a nonprofit, or the hiring partner or head of recruiting at a firm; they can forward your application to the appropriate person within the organization. If at all possible, write to an individual by name, not to “Director” or “Recruiting Coordinator.” Firm and organization web sites are very useful in finding this information (and for confirming correct spellings and the like); it may be more difficult to find the name of an individual addressee for government job opportunities. If you do not have the name of an individual, the salutation should be “Dear Sir or Madam” (not “To Whom It May Concern”). Of course if you are responding to a job posting, address your letter exactly as instructed.
As for the appropriate salutation, traditionally, it is “Dear [Mr./Ms.] [Last Name]. However, we understand that this prevailing business norm may not be inclusive of individuals who do not use either of those titles (for example, because they identify as gender nonconforming). One alternative, “Dear [First Name] [Last Name]”, avoids presuming how the recipient may identify, but it is not without some risk.
If you use this approach, a recipient less attuned to thinking about gender inclusivity (and accustomed to seeing only “Dear [Mr./Ms] [Last Name]”) may wrongly conclude that you were unfamiliar with professional etiquette or that you used a mail merge template and did not bother to customize it. While awareness around these issues is increasing, we believe that, unfortunately, it is still not a small number of recruiting representatives and attorneys who might draw the wrong conclusion.
One way to navigate this tricky situation might be to see if the recipient has an online presence (e.g., on the firm website or LinkedIn) that might give you a strong clue as to how they would like to be addressed. Otherwise, you will need to make your own judgment as to whether recipients are more likely to recognize your inclusivity or to view the greeting as awkward or erroneous.
In our office, we are also working to help employers become familiar with gender-inclusive approaches like “Dear [First Name] [Last Name],” but like any process of education, this will take time. In the meantime, our primary goal is to make sure that all Berkeley Law students are fully informed as you navigate legal job markets. We are always available to discuss individually what approach would be the best fit for you.
First Paragraph. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing. Introduce yourself as a law student (including the year you are in) or a graduate of Berkeley Law and specify what it is you are seeking: a summer job, an associate position, a clerkship, part-time work during the school year, etc.
The goal of this paragraph is to give the reader a reason to want to finish reading the letter. If you don’t have a personal connection to cite, try to establish a nexus between yourself and the employer, such as knowledge of their practice, an established commitment to or interest in their work, a connection to their city, or something else which conveys that you are not just writing to them as part of a mass mailing for any job in any location. (If that in fact is what you are doing, try not to be too obvious about it. An employer wants to think that you sought him or her out purposely rather than randomly.)
Body Paragraph(s). This is the section in which you “sell” your experience and qualifications to the employer. Your goal here is to answer the question, “Why should the employer meet you?”
Call attention to something which substantiates your interest in this particular employer. It could be coursework in their specialty, the recommendation of a professor in their area of practice, undergraduate residency in their city, or any other indication of your interest. Try also to show how your experiences will translate into skills which will be useful to this particular employer. Highlight relevant qualifications which are not on your resume, such as coursework, research, or a prior connection to the organization or the issues they work on. If you have general legal skills such as negotiation, litigation, client counseling, interviewing, mock trials, etc., you may want to include them. As much as possible, try to convey understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the aims of the organization.
Employers do not expect first-year students to have highly-developed legal skills to offer. Therefore, for first-year students writing to private firms, this section can be a single, short paragraph, unless you have a strong background in a relevant area. However, even inexperienced first-year students writing to public interest/sector organizations should make an effort to describe skills and interests that are relevant to the employer.
It is appropriate and not uncommon for a public interest cover letter to be somewhat more detailed or personal than a private sector cover letter. Of course, it is still very important to be concise, but it is acceptable for the letter to be a full page if your experience dictates. In a public interest cover letter, it is important both to highlight your demonstrated commitment to the mission/work/client base of the organization through your own relevant work or life experience, and to illustrate your relevant skills. Take another look at your resume for items that show your interest, commitment and skills. Even if you do not have experience in the specific area in which an organization works, it is still important to emphasize your demonstrated commitment to the public interest, and to draw connections between that general commitment and the specific work of the organization. As it is important not to merely regurgitate your resume, consider including a story that illustrates you are interested or qualified in the position.
If your application raises questions that are readily answered, such as availability after the Bar exam, judicial clerkship plans, etc., the letter can address those; other issues may be better deferred to the interview stage. Consult a CDO attorney-counselor if you’re not sure whether to include something in your cover letter.
Final Paragraph. In your last paragraph, thank them for their consideration, and say you hope to hear from them soon. For out-of-town employers, indicate when you plan to be in their geographic area and state your availability for an interview. Be sure to include your phone number and email in this paragraph unless you use a letterhead style that includes them at the top of the page. If you state that you will call the employer to follow up on your application, be sure you do so.
If you are bringing a cover letter to an on-campus interview (which you should do only if the employer requests you to), the content will be a bit different. You don’t need to introduce yourself, as you will be there in person, and you won’t request an interview at the closing. But you can thank the employer for interviewing you and say that you welcome the opportunity to learn more about the employer and to discuss the possibility of working for them. The important thing is to show why you are interested in this particular employer, and how you think your background makes you a good match for them.
The mistakes most commonly found in student cover letters are:
- Restating your resume. “ I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2005, with a B.A., cum laude, in Political Science, then worked as a substitute teacher in an urban high school before starting law school in the fall of 2008 .” Don’t waste space with facts that are readily gleaned from your resume! Instead, you could say (briefly) how your work experience led you to pursue a legal career in an area practiced by the employer.
- Focusing on what you stand to gain from the job . “ I am particularly interested in your firm’s excellent training program for summer associates, and in gaining exposure to a variety of different practice areas.” Remember, employers only grant interviews to candidates who offer something of potential use to the employer. Try to say how your skills and enthusiasm will help the employer serve its clients, or otherwise further its aims.
- Being too informal or familiar. “I’m thrilled by the possibility of working with you this summer, and would love to meet with you in person/by phone to chat about what the options might be.” Enthusiasm is good, but it must be presented professionally.
Other cover letter mistakes include: being defensive or apologetic; appearing arrogant or entitled, and being too long and wordy. Unsupported statements of your qualities (“I am highly motivated and a quick study”) do not help your case. Generic reasons for your interest in the employer (e.g., its “excellent reputation”) tend to demonstrate your lack of specific knowledge. Of course typos and inaccuracies, such as misspelled names, or (please!) stating an interest in a practice area that the firm doesn’t have, are automatic application-killers.
Our cover letter template provides suggestions only; please do not feel excessively constrained by its approach. Your letter should, of course, be original work that reflects your unique background and the job you are aiming at.
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Law Student Cover Letter Samples
If you’re studying law and looking to review some law student cover letter samples, then this blog is for you! Whether you’re applying to an internship, or hoping to obtain employment in your field, you’ll need a specific cover letter detailing your qualities and skills as a law student. A law student cover letter differs from a law school letter of recommendation , as you’ll write it yourself and you’ll only need it once you’re already admitted into your program. A well written cover letter can help you acquire great learning opportunities!
>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<
Article Contents 11 min read
Law student cover letters are extremely important for students of law to know how to write and have on-hand, regardless of what year of study you’re currently in. A cover letter serves as your chance to show off your skills and to make sure that the motivation behind your career choice and your suitability for the role; this is especially important for things like summer job opportunities related to your program and internships. This blog will walk you through everything you need to know about writing a law student cover letter—from what information it should contain, how it should be formatted, and a few samples of law student cover letters so you’ll know how to prepare your letter with ease!
What is a Law Student Cover Letter?
You are now a law student! After completing dozens of application components, such as your law school personal statement, law school resume , and other law school optional essays , you have finally made it! But, if you think that you are done planning and working on application materials, you are wrong! Now that you’re a law student, you must work to gain relevant experience and knowledge by participating in internships, articling, and other law-related job opportunities. To succeed in your applications, you will need a stellar law student cover letter.
A law student cover letter is a document that you write to accompany your resume, which you send along with your application for various internships or employment opportunities that are related to your area of study. In your case, this is law, but it may be a specific sector of law that you have a special interest in, such as family law or environmental law. A cover letter is used to connect the dots between your experiences listed on your resume by providing your potential employer with a short, organized narrative that details why you’re an ideal candidate for the role.
As a law student, it's important for you to create effective marketing materials that stand out from the crowd of applicants. A well-written cover letter will help employers remember who sent them the application—and put it at the top of their pile when they're shortlisting candidates for an interview!
Simply put: you’ll want to stand out to potential employers, and having a well written cover letter can enhance your application!
Need help with your cover letter? Reach out to a law school advisor:
Without a cover letter, your application may only consist of a resume, and/or any other documentation that is required. Most, if not all, jobs recommend a cover letter. The same can be said for internships. Whether paid or unpaid, internship positions are often in high demand, and many law students will likely apply for the same position. Many students may have similar academic paths and accomplishments, so, having a stellar cover letter gives you an opportunity to stand out (in just a few short paragraphs) and works to enhance the valuable information and experiences on your resume.
You should prepare a law-specific cover letter when you want to apply for any professional role related to law. Commonly, law student cover letters are required/recommended to go along with internship applications.
Even if you’re not currently seeking an internship or employment, you may also want to have an established cover letter if you’re interested in alumni networking as a law student, or learning about opportunities without the immediate intent of applying to them.
Your cover letter is a professional extension of you, and should almost act as a narrative that encompasses your abilities as a law student as they relate to the role you’re hoping to obtain.
Every law student cover letter you create and submit should be completely unique. This doesn’t mean that your latest cover letter cannot follow the same format as another you’ve written, or include the same background information about your skills. Rather, you should ensure each cover letter is tailored to the specific company and position you’re applying for. Each role has different requirements and expectations, so it’s important you take the time to share why you feel you’d be a good fit for a specific role, and not submit the same, generalized cover letters to every role you apply for while you’re in law school.
If you're a law student, cover letters are an important part of your job search while you’re still in school, and can really come in handy if you’re planning on pursuing an internship, whether one is a mandatory component of your program or not.
Even if internships are required by your institution, it does not mean you’ll be automatically awarded an internship. You may need to apply yourself in order to stand out and be considered above other candidates for your desired position at the company you wish to intern with; especially if it’s competitive.
Cover letters give you the chance to explain why you would be a good fit for a position and show that you're serious about getting the job. Resumes are brief and often point-form, highlighting a few academic accomplishments and credentials, along with employment history and workplace skills. But sometimes, a job title and a brief description of your duties isn’t sufficient enough to look like the best candidate in the application pool!
The first thing most hiring managers look at when they get an application is the cover letter; this is true across many fields, but especially in law. It gives them a sense of who you are as a professional, and shows them whether or not you may be an ideal fit for their company. Each company has its own culture and set of values; they’re looking for specific talent and skills to add to their team, and the only way they’ll know if you have these is by reading your detailed cover letter.
If yours doesn't stand out from the rest, you may not hear from your dream company!
What Information Should I Include in my Law Student Cover Letter?
Your law student cover letter should include the following:
- Your name, address and phone number.
- The date of your application. If you are applying for multiple positions at once, it’s helpful to make sure that your cover letter goes with each job posting.
- A short summary of your career history so far (including any relevant work experience). This could be a paragraph or two long, but shouldn't take up more than half the page.
- Brief descriptions of the internship or role you are applying for and what makes you qualified for it. You should emphasize the knowledge and skills you possess, and experiences you’ve had, in order to demonstrate why you think you’re a perfect candidate.
- A concise summary about why you want to work in law, and why you want to work for this employer in particular. You can include the steps you’ve taken towards achieving this goal so far—this would include some information about your years spent at university as well as activities outside of class, such as extracurriculars related specifically to legal studies or volunteer opportunities.
What Information Should I Refrain from Putting in my Cover Letter?
Yes, there is definitely information that should not be included in any cover letter, but especially a law student cover letter.
First, you should refrain from including overly personal information. This means you should not provide details about your personal life, irrelevant points about hobbies or interests unrelated to law, and any information about your age, race, gender, political opinion, or preferences, unless this was a requirement for the role! For example, some internship and job postings may be looking for students under 30 years of age, somebody who is bilingual, somebody who identities as female, or even a person with a specific area of interest that is relevant to the position.
When formatting your law student cover letter, consider the following:
Remember, no matter what position you\u2019re applying for, or what your experience is, your cover letter is to serve as an informative, concise piece\u2014a narrative\u2014explaining your professional qualifications! Your resume is the place to list your accomplishments and extensive history (usually in point-form of brief sentences), however, your cover letter should highlight skills and points that are specific to the role you\u2019re hoping to obtain. "}]'>
November 1, 2020
Mr. John Smith
XYZ District Attorney’s Office
123 Anywhere Street
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am a second-year student at ZYX Law School and I’m elated to be writing to you in response to your posting for a spring intern at your downtown office. I have been a passionate advocate for many social justice movements in the downtown core, and feel working at the XYZ District Attorney’s Office would be an invaluable experience. I am also confident that I have several established skills that would make me a great addition to your office over the course of the fourth month position.
I attended ABC University for my undergraduate degree and received my honors degree in Justice, Political Policy and Law in 2017, with a minor focus in Labor Studies. Prior to beginning my current program, I accepted a part-time position as a youth program coordinator at Newtown’s Indigenous community center. I thoroughly enjoy drafting and organizing programs that will benefit the young minds in this city, and throughout my academic and professional endeavors, I’ve grown to be the passionate, dedicated law student I am today.
I am passionate about social justice and empowerment which is why a role interning at your office not only piqued my interest as somebody eager to learn more about district law, but somebody who is so excited about working in this city. I also firmly believe I am capable of demonstrating the intensive research skills and organizational abilities required for this role, as I exceeded in political research and research analytics during my undergraduate degree, specifically with my fourth-year thesis, where I presented my case on the relation of Generational Trauma, Systemic Racism and Social Welfare Crises. Last summer, I completed an internship at CDF Law Firm as a research assistant and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I successfully compiled and drafted several documents during my two months at CDF, and, I learned how to best organize my findings in an approachable and concise manner.
Overall, I feel an internship at XYZ District Attorney’s Office would be phenomenal opportunity. I feel in this position, I’d be able to successfully enhance my skills as a law professional, and learn new research and leadership skills that will be imperative to my growth and will contribute to my journey toward one day becoming a District Attorney myself. I have a lot to learn, but I know I have a lot of value and skill to offer.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to review my cover letter. I look forward to connecting with you. I can be reached at (102)-304-1234, or by email, [email protected] .
Sample Law Student Cover Letter 2
ABC County Municipal Government Center
1999 Anytown Ave - 18
March 10, 2018
To Whom it may Concern,
I am a third year ABC Law student determined to pursue a career as a public defender, which is why I am excited to be formally applying for your internship at ABC Country Municipal Government Centre. I have an extensive background studying criminal law and public defence, both in my post secondary courses and internships, and volunteer endeavors. I feel my combination of experience and dedication to becoming a law professional allow me to demonstrate the skills necessary for this role, including knowledge of the criminal justice system, municipal law, and defence, as well as impeccable analytical and critical thinking abilities.
Last summer, I worked for the Public Defender Service for the District of CBA as a part-time intern. There, I helped my designated attorney prepare for trial and conducted extensive research on cases specific to juveniles, as well as other crimes that impacted the community, like vandalism. I helped prepare court documents and by the end of my contract, I was preparing documents entirely on my own; they were then granted approval upon review and used in court. I also witnessed and participated in defence interviews as an observer and got a first-hand look at what it takes to not only question to convicted, but to see the big picture and understand, from a professional standpoint, what their true intent is/was. I always strive to hear everybody and ask the appropriate questions to ensure I have a thorough understanding of every case.
I have completed eight criminal law courses, with honors, in my current program, and exceeded in criminal law during my undergraduate career, too. Currently, I volunteer as a journalist for the law “paper”, that is a student-run and funded blog, at ABC University. I enjoy volunteering my time to not only to inform the law community of pertinent issues and stories in our community, but to ensure I have polished and pristine research and writing skills. I believe the only way to learn and improve, is by doing.
My training during workshops and mock trials has helped me to develop the strong oral advocacy skills critical in the courtroom, which I am looking to put to use, alongside my research, writing, and analytical skills, at an internship at your office. My academic career and professional goals, make me a strong candidate for this position. I would appreciate the chance to discuss my qualifications with you.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
As a law student, you’ll benefit tremendously from knowing how to draft a quality, concise law student cover letter for all of your future internships and employment opportunities. It’s essential that you mention relevant details and highlight your assets in your law student cover letter, as it’s your only opportunity to offer a narrative to support your resume/application, and speak to your own character and potential!
Be sure to review our samples above, and review the recommended structure so that you can format your law student cover letter well and attach it to all of your applications! Remember, for each job you apply for, you should create a custom cover letter.
A cover letter is a one-page document that you include with your resume when applying for jobs, internships and other positions. The cover letter’s purpose is to introduce yourself and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. It should also highlight why you would be an asset to the company or law firm in question.
A law student cover letter is different from a cover letter you’d send along to support your application for a job outside of law. As a law student, you’ll require a cover letter when you apply for internship opportunities, or for positions related to the field of law.
Yes, and no. While having a template and outline for your law student cover letter is generally a good idea, you should customize all of your cover letters so that they are tailored to each individual role you are applying for. Be sure to state the company’s name, and personalize what you say so it stands out to specific employers!
Mentioning specific skills you have that align with their ideal candidate (refer to job description),and supplying a brief, supportive narrative can strongly support your resume. Remember, your resume acts as an organized list to detail your experience, whereas a cover letter gives you the chance to speak to your character, experiences, and skills, and convince the employer that you’re right for the role!
Refrain from providing extensive information about past experiences (educational, employment or personal) that are not relevant to the position of which you’re applying! You only have one page, so be sure to only add details that matter and relate to law!
No, when you have not yet entered your law program, you are not yet a law student! You can use cover letters for any job you apply for, however, they should be tailored specifically to your program.
It’s important to remember that a law student cover letter is vastly different than a law school letter of recommendation. Your letter of recommendation supports your application to law school, and is written by a recommender. Your law student cover letter will be written by you, once you’re already admitted into your law program.
You need one cover letter for each job/internship you apply for, unless you are given instructions that state otherwise. Your cover letter should be no more than one page, and should be broken up into 3-5 short paragraphs to make it readable and professional.
BeMo Academic Consulting can help you! We offer academic support for students studying in a variety of fields, including law, and we’d be happy to help you write your law student cover letter.
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Here's an example of the perfect cover letter, according to Harvard career experts
Found your dream job? Don't be so confident that you'll get hired: It's very likely that there are several other qualified candidates competing for that same position.
That's where the cover letter comes in. Including a cover letter to complement your resume can be an effective way to impress hiring managers: It displays your strong writing skills, sets you apart from other applicants and shows that you went the extra mile.
Linda Spencer, associate director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School, says that a solid cover letter answers two key questions :
- Why are you the right fit for the job?
- How will you add value to the organization?
"It takes the average employer about seven seconds to review these documents," says Spencer. "They're not reading, they're skimming. So you need to make it clear right off the bat how you can add value."
Here's an example of what a strong cover letter looks like, according to Harvard career experts (click here to enlarge):
Credit: Harvard University, Office of Career Services / Harvard Extension School, Career and Academic Resource Center
Don't know where to start? The career experts share tips on how to write a cover letter that stands out:
1. Address the letter to a specific person
"To whom it may concern" is one of the fastest ways to get your application deleted. Always try to address your letter to a specific person — usually the hiring manager or department head. Include their name, title, company and address at the very top below the date.
If you don't know who to address, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Simply enter the company name and some keywords into the search bar (e.g., "Google, hiring manager, sales") and a variety of related profiles will appear.
2. Clearly state the purpose of your letter
Your opening line doesn't need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it should be the complete opposite, according Harvard's career experts.
Keep it simple and straightforward: State why you're writing, the position you're applying for and, if applicable, how you found the job listing.
3. Don't rehash your entire resume
You're not writing a 1,000-word essay that summarizes your resume. The cover letter is your chance to explain why you're genuinely interested in the company and its mission.
No need to make it super formal, either. Use your own voice and add some personal flourishes to make the letter more interesting.
"If you have relevant school or work experience, be sure to point it out with one or two key examples," the career experts note . "Emphasize skills or abilities that relate to the job. Be sure to do this in a confident manner and keep in mind that the reader will also view your letter as an example of your writing skills."
4. Use action words and don't overuse the pronoun "I"
Instead of using flowery words and cliche claims like "fast thinker" and "highly creative," go for action words.
Here are a few examples of action verbs to use when highlighting specific skills:
- To demonstrate leadership skills : Accomplished, contracted, assigned, directed, orchestrated, headed, delegated
- To demonstrate communication skills : Addressed, translated, presented, negotiated, moderated, promoted, edited
- To demonstrate research skills : Constructed, examined, critique, systematized, investigated, modeled, formulated
- To demonstrate creative skills : Revitalized, redesigned, developed, integrated, conceptualized, fashioned, shaped
Avoid using too many "I" statements because it can come off as though you're mostly interested in what you can gain from the company. The focus should be on what the company can gain from you.
5. Reiterate your enthusiasm and thank the reader
The closing of your letter should:
- Reiterate your interest in the position
- Thank the reader for his or her consideration
- State that you look forward hearing back from them
- Include your signature at the very bottom
6. Be consistent in formatting
Visual consistency makes a big difference. Keep your letter to just one page and use the same font (and size) as you did for your resume. If you're converting the letter to a PDF, make sure the formatting is translated properly.
Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company , a strategic communications firm in St. Charles, Missouri. He was also named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices in Management and Corporate Culture." Follow him on LinkedIn here.
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