Cover letters and Applications


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Learn some tips and tricks on creating cover letters and filling out applications.

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Cover letters and Applications

  1. 1. Sponsored in part by the Workforce Development Agency, State of Michigan, Michigan Works!, through your local Workforce Development Board and Muskegon County Board of Commissioners. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities EEO/ADA/Employer/Programs - TTY# - 711. Cover Letters and Applications
  2. 2. Cover Letters
  3. 3.  1/3 will always read cover letters  1/3 will read cover letters if it catches their attention  1/3 will never read cover letters Will an employer really read your cover letter? According to research… Cover Letter Magic 4th Edition by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark
  4. 4. Just like your résumé, your cover letter is extremely important because it is another 1st impression!
  5. 5. No Rules…Just Strategies! Cover Letters are “SITUATION DEPENDENT” Cover Letter Magic 4th Edition by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark
  6. 6. 4 Types of Cover Letters: 1. The Application Letter 1. Responds to a known/advertised job opening 2. The Prospecting (Cold/Warm Calling) Letter 1. Inquires about possible positions 1. The Networking Letter 1. Requests a recommendation or information 2. The Referral Letter 1. Uses a name-dropping tactic
  7. 7. Key Components BE CLEAR What type of position are you interested in? SHOW VALUE What value can you bring to the organization? Remember to use specific examples to make your case!
  8. 8. 1. Identify your key strengths and accomplishments 2. Research the company to see (and be able to explain) how you will be an asset 3. Develop strong summary statements Foundations
  9. 9. Cover Letter Formats  Standard Business Paragraph  Gives all of your information in a cordial letter style
  10. 10. Cover Letter Formats  Skills and Qualification Comparison  Highlights what the employer is looking for and how you can fill that need
  11. 11. Cover Letter Formats  Bulleted Center Paragraph  Puts more focus on the information you want the reader to remember
  12. 12. A cover letter should COMPLEMENT, not DUPLICATE your resume. • Explain why you’re interested in their organization • Identify your most relevant skills/experiences • Express interest and knowledge about the position and company
  13. 13. Cover Letter Writing 101 • The Opening: Why I’m Writing You • This is an overview, details are for the 2nd paragraph • Grab the reader’s attention, just like writing an essay • Don’t be boring or typical • Zero in on why you’re the best candidate; highlight the aspects of your experience and character that set you apart
  14. 14. Typical: “I am writing to express interest in the Housekeeping position posted on the Michigan Works Website.” Better: “With a proven track record of exceeding employers’ expectations in a 10+ year career, I am confident that I would be a perfect fit for the Housekeeping position posted on the Michigan Works Website.”
  15. 15. • The 2nd Paragraph – Why I’m the Best Candidate Cover Letter Writing 101
  16. 16.  List key qualifications Pull these directly from the job description  Show that you have what they need Use specific experiences/accomplishments  Provide evidence to support your examples  Be clear, brief, and factual  Don’t repeat your résumé Cover Letter Writing 101
  17. 17. Cover Letter Writing 101 • The Final Paragraph: The Hook • Short, 2-4 sentence paragraph • Quickly remind the reader of your company knowledge and how you’ll contribute to the bottom line • Thank the reader for their time and attention • Request an interview • Make sure to leave a positive impression of yourself
  18. 18. Passive: “I look forward to hearing from you.” Assertive: “I look forward to interviewing with you and will follow up next week to schedule a time that is convenient.”
  19. 19. Remember the 3 “P’s”  POLISH  PROOFREAD  PERFECT
  20. 20. 7 Elements of a Highly Effective Cover Letter By Jimmy Sweeney, Author of “Amazing Cover Letter Creator” 1. Address your cover letter to a real person. 2. Open with an attention-grabbing first sentence. 3.Remember: Less is more 4.Focus on what YOU can do for the employer
  21. 21. 5. Choose words that show enthusiasm and passion 6. Request one action: an interview 7. End your cover letter with something enthusiastic and significant
  22. 22. Effective cover letters take work… But the payoff is worth it!
  23. 23. 1st Step to Completing Applications Effectively: Arrive prepared with the information and tools you need! Completed Sample Application/Fact Sheet References with Contact Information Professional RésuméErasable Pen
  24. 24.  Read the application completely BEFORE writing on it  Follow the directions EXACTLY  Print neatly using blue or black ink  Submit all requested information—leave no blanks. Write “Does Not Apply” or “NA” for Not Applicable  Tailor your answer to the job you are seeking Application Basics
  25. 25. Job Title and Salary: • Use a specific job title • If you don’t have the title, use a title or description that most closely describes the position you are applying for. • Never write “anything.” • Availability – Possible answers: “immediately” or “2 week notice required” • If the salary or hourly wage is not given, list desired salary as “negotiable” or “open to discussion”
  26. 26. Work History / Experience: • Usually asks for job title, company name and information, and dates of employment. • Be as accurate as possible; make sure dates don’t conflict. • Don’t say “See résumé!” • Reason for Leaving – Use positive phrases • Examples: to take a job with more responsibility, moved, seasonal, business closed, job/contract ended, laid off, returned to school, career change, etc. • Avoid negative words: absenteeism, fired, quit, tardiness
  27. 27. Work History / Experience: • List special skills, experience, and/or training needed for the position • Match employer needs vs. your skills • Highlight club activities, volunteer work, or organizations you belong to that relate to the job • Talk to your references before using them. Keep your reference list updated.
  28. 28. • Not following directions • Misspelled words • Crossed out writing • Incomplete work history or large unexplained gaps • Wrinkled/messy application form • Not applying for a specific position • Not printed • Overlapping/conflicting employment dates with no explanation • Application not turned in by deadline • Use of “red flag” words • Forgetting to sign the application
  29. 29. Your completed application is a reflection of you. Make it a good one!
  30. 30. Like what you saw? We hope you found this information helpful. Check us out at • Give us any questions/comments/concerns • See our workshop schedule • Learn more about Michigan Works! Muskegon-Oceana