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  • Welcome to Center for Work and Service Online Workshop: Writing Cover Letters and Other Correspondence. In this workshop, we will discuss how to write a general cover letter and overview other types of professional correspondence.
  • There are several types of letters with which you communicate with an employer, an internship sponsor, or a networking contact, including the cover letter, thank-you letter, networking letter, follow-up letter, and emails.
  • The cover letter serves many purposes. It's goal is to introduce you to the reader and get her interested enough in your application to invite you for an interview. Remember, the resume and cover letter only serve to get you the interview; the interview is what gets you the position.While your resume presents factual information about you, the cover letter can persuade the reader that you are a great candidate. You can use it to connect your background to a position or a company by mentioning your interest in the field, mutual acquaintances, andhighlight how your skills and experience meet the employer's needs. Especially if the position will require writing, know that the cover letter is often viewed as a writing sample.
  • Here is a sample cover letter format. Make sure to include your address and the date on the top, then the contact information of the person to whom you are writing. This is a formal letter, so end your salutation with a colon. We will discuss the components of the letter in the next few slides.
  • In the opening paragraph, explain who you are and why you are writing. This is where you can mention the name of the person who referred you to this employer or contact person. If you attended an information session, open house, or career fair, state so. Include where you learned of the opportunity to which you are applying.
  • In the second paragraph, communicate your desire to work for this employer. Be sure to consider the potential employer's reputation, and any information you've gained from their Web site, an information session, or from an alumna/other contacts. You may include articles you've read, experience with using their products, or other connections you have with them.
  • In the third paragraph, explain to the employer why they should hire you.Include your long-term or short-term goals, and highlight your qualifications without repeating your resume verbatim. However, you do want to makes sure your resume and cover letter are redundant in the fact that you are covering all the key experiences from your resume in your cover letter, and not mentioning anything in your cover letter that is not included in your resume. Each document should be able to make the argument for your candidacy in its own right. Be sure to address the specific job or internship requirements stated in the job description.
  • In the last paragraph, next steps are usually discussed. Communicate how the employer can reach you and clarify any special dates or ways you can be reached. If you want to follow up in a week, state the date of the week and be sure to do so. Respect the employer's hiring process when following up. If the listing states “no phone calls" or "do not follow-up”, do not call the employer.At the end of the last paragraph, be sure to thank the reader.
  • Here are some final tips for your cover letter:Check your spelling and grammar; there is no excuse for any of those mistakes. Research the company and industry before writing. Each cover letter should be tailored to its recipient. Be very careful with reusing a cover letter from one company to another to make sure you catch any company-specific references. Be concise and to the point: how do you want the reader to remember you? Be aware of run-on sentences. Remember, in many cases, your cover letter is being used as a sample of your writing ability. You want to present yourself as powerful of a candidate as you can be.
  • Here are more tips on cover letters: Do not start every sentence or paragraph with “I”; avoid the passive voice, such as “this opportunity allowed me to gain analytical skills…”. Tell them what you have to offer and make it as active and as powerful as you can. Remember, the first letter you write will be the hardest. Professional correspondance is a learned skill; it gets much easier with practice.
  • Before you send the cover letter, review this checklist:Be sure the letter is dated. Make sure you proofread. Grammar and spelling must be perfect. Limit letter to one page. Read letter aloud and have others read it. CWS counselors can review your drafts. The letter's stationery and font should match resume and envelope. Remember to sign your letter.
  • This worksheet will help to organize your thoughts before you start a cover letter. Consider the following:What is the main message you want to convey to an employer or internship sponsor?Why you do want to gain experience in this field and/or work for this employer or internship sponsor?Why should the employer/internship sponsor interview you? Name three adjectives that best describe you as a candidate. List relevant, concrete examples from your resume or background to support them.Discuss your answers with a friend or CWS counselor to get started.
  • The thank-you letter is a way of thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to discuss your qualifications. You are covered by simply thanking them for thier time in interviewing you or reviewing your application. However, the thank-you note also presents a wonderful opportunity to include additional information, such as:Any new or follow-up information or something you may have forgotten to mention during the converstion; a reminder of your qualifications and your continued interest; or a reminder of an interesting or helpful statement you made during the meeting.Be sure to send a separate thank-you letter or e-mail to each interviewer within 24 hours. Email notes are aceptable, although a hand-written note will often stand out. The best guage for which to send is to know your audience and what they would prefer. Be sure to check your spelling, especially of the interviewer's name, and your grammar.
  • A networking letter serves as an introduction for an informational interview. It helps relay your career interests to those who can offer contacts or industry information for your job or internship research, and help gain access to first hand information about a field of interest.Provide the context for your letter: Specify the point of connection or what you may have in common with the reader, i.e., both went to Wellesley College, name of person who made the referral and her relationship to you.State what you need from the reader, e.g., advice on gaining entry to the industry or type of organization, list of local organizations or contacts in the field.You can enclose your resume for the reader's information only. Since this is not a job application letter, a resume is not required. Commonly used pharsing is, "I have attached my resume to give you a sense of my background."You may end the letter with an action statement to initiate personal contact, like inviting the reader for coffee or for the full informational interview.
  • You can send a follow-up letter or email if some time has lapsed since you last heard from a potential employer. It is written to express your continued interest, and serve as a reminder of your qualifications.You can also use it as an inquiry about the status of the hiring process or timeline. The letter can include a brief discussion of any new ideas that you have had or points you want to make since the interview as well.
  • If you are e-mailing an employer to apply for a job or internship, make sure the position title is in the “Subject” line. If your goal is networking, keep to the format for e-mails, and customize your content for getting industry information and contact.Remember, that email is simply another tool for your professional correspondence; none of ther etiquette rules have changed. In the salutation, use the contact person's title and last name, not their first name unless you already have a relationship with them that allows you to do so. Be sure to keep the length of the e-mail to the size of one screen, not multiple paragraphs.Summarize your interest and skills for the position. Use traditional, formal language, not txt msg'ing words and icons. Make sure you attach your resume. You can also attach a formal cover letter with your resume if you would like. In that case the email serves as a short introduction to your cover letter and resume. The attached cover letter and resume file names should contain your name and the position desired.
  • The CWS counselors are happy to help you think through what to include in your cover letters or other forms of correspondance, including networking contacts.Come to the CWS Drop-Ins hours for a brief review of any of your forms of correspondance.For in-depth help with writing skills, use the Writing Tutors at the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center.This concludes the CWS Online Workshop: Writing Cover Letters and Other Correspondence.

Transcript

  • 1. Writing Cover Letters and Other Correspondence Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 2. Types of Letters• Cover letter• Thank You Letter• Networking Letter• Follow-Up Letter• E-mail correspondence Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 3. Cover Letter: Purpose• To introduce yourself, your resume, and get an interview (not necessarily the job)• To persuade, while resume presents facts• To connect to an employer or a position via field of interest, mutual acquaintances• To highlight how your skills and experience meet the employer’s needs• Often viewed as a writing sample Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 4. Sample Cover Letter FormatWellesley College21 Wellesley College Road, Unit 1122Wellesley, MA 02481February 14, 20XXContact Name, TitleOrganization NameStreet AddressCity, State ZipcodeDear Ms./Mr./Dr.:Opening paragraph: Why are you writing?2nd paragraph: Why do you want to work there?3rd paragraph: Why should the organization hire you? What are your goals and qualifications?Closing paragraph: What happens next? Request an interview.Sincerely,Your SignatureYour nameEnclosure Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 5. Opening Paragraph• Explain who you are and why you are writing• Mention a mutual acquaintance, or name of a person who referred you to the employer• If you attended an information session, open house, or career fair, state so• Express where you learned of the opportunity Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 6. 2nd Paragraph• Communicate your desire to work for this employer.• Consider: • Potential employer’s reputation • Information from their web site, an information session, or from an alumna/other contacts • Articles read, experience using their products, etc. Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 7. 3rd Paragraph• Explain the employer why they should hire you• Include long-term/short-term goals• Highlight your qualifications without repeating your resume verbatim• Address job/internship requirements stated in the job description Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 8. Closing ParagraphNext steps:• Communicate how the employer can reach you and clarify any special dates or ways you can be reached• If you want to follow up in a week, state the date of the week and do so• Respect employer’s hiring process when following up• Thank the reader Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 9. Cover Letter Tips• Check your spelling and grammar• Research the company and industry before writing• Each cover letter should be tailored to its recipient• Be concise and to the point: how do you want the reader to remember you?• Be aware of run-on sentences Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 10. Cover Letter Tips - Continued• Do not start every sentence or paragraph with “I”• Avoid the passive voice, such as “this opportunity allowed me to gain analytical skills…”• The first letter you write will be the hardest Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 11. Cover Letter Checklist• Be sure the letter is dated• Proofread. Grammar and spelling must be perfect.• Limit letter to one page• Read letter aloud and have others read it• Stationery and font should match resume and envelope• Sign your letter Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 12. Worksheet: Preparing Your Cover Letter• What is the main message you want to convey to an employer or internship sponsor?• Why you do want to gain experience in this field and/or work for this employer or internship sponsor?• Why should the employer/internship sponsor interview you? Name three adjectives that best describe you as a candidate. List relevant, concrete examples from your resume or background.• Discuss your answers with a friend or CWS counselor to get started. Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 13. Thank You Letter• Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to discuss your qualifications Can include: • Any new or follow-up information • Reminder of your qualifications and your continued interest • An interesting or helpful statement you made during the meeting• Send a separate letter or e-mail to each interviewer within 24 hours• Check your spelling, especially of the interviewer’s name, and grammar Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 14. Networking Letter• Relay your career interest to those who can offer contacts or industry information for your job or internship search• Provide context of your letter. Specify what you may have in common with the reader, i.e., Wellesley College, name of person who made the referral and her relationship to you• State what you need from the reader, e.g., advice on gaining entry to the industry or type of organization, list of local organizations or contacts in the field• Enclose your resume for the reader’s information• May end with an action statement to initiate personal contact Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 15. Follow-Up Letter• To be sent if some time has lapsed since you last heard from a potential employer• Written to express your continued interest• A reminder of your qualifications• An inquiry about the status of the search• A brief discussion of any new ideas you have had since the interview Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 16. Email as Cover Letter• Insert job title in the “Subject” line• In the salutation, use the contact person’s title and last name (e.g. “Dear Ms. Jones:”), not first name• Keep length to the size of one screen• Summarize your interest and skills for the position• Use traditional, formal language, not txt msg’ing words• Make sure you attach your resume• You can also attach a formal cover letter with your resume. In that case the email serves as a short introduction to your cover letter and resume• The cover letter and resume file names should contain your name and the position desired Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service
  • 17. Help from CWS• A CWS counselor can help you think through what you want to include in your letters and answer your questions• Come to the CWS Drop-Ins for a 10-minute cover letter review (Monday- Friday 12:30 pm-2 pm when classes are in session)• For in-depth help with writing skills, go to Writing Tutors at the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center Copyright 2012, Wellesley College Center for Work and Service