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Cover letter webinar


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  • 1. Cover Letter Workshop
    A PowerPointto Help You Draft Effective Cover Letters
    Presented by the Gonzaga School of Law Center for Professional Development
  • 2. Asked “How important is the cover letter in
    an application?” 40 percent of 1,087 HR
    professionals polled said it’s among the most
    important factors, while others said:
    It depends on the job 21%
    It’s important only if it’s awful 17%
    It’s very important and can even clinch a job 11%
    They don’t even look at cover letters 11%
    Letter Perfect
    To express interest in the job
    To tell employers how you can benefit them!!!
    To demonstrate your writing skills
    The Purpose of a Cover Letter
  • 4. The Work needs to be done before writing the cover
    Review your own accomplishments and decide what is unique and important and should go in the letter.
    Synthesize your background in a different way from your résumé. Think about the skills and abilities that the employer is looking for.
    Research the organization and know what they do and what interests you about them!
    Research the person to whom you are writing.
    Know the best way to get in the door:
    Informational interviewing
    Job application
    Networking opportunities
    Before You Start Writing
  • 5. Research and Writing Ability
    Advocacy Skills
    Creative Problem Solving
    Entrepreneurial Skills
    Team Player
    Independent Workers
    Quick Learner
    Time Management Skills
    Client Relations Skills
    Timely Response
    Efficient Work
    Understanding Legal Process
    Interview Skills
    What Are Employers Looking For?
  • 6. Support statements with facts and examples.
    Describe how you accomplished what is on your resume.
    For example, if you worked for a prosecutor’s office . . .
    Instead of saying: “ I can assist you with your pre-trial
    Say something like: “Through my work as an intern at the
    Spokane County Attorney’s office, I gained
    experience crafting pre-trial documents.”
    Marketing Yourself
  • 7. Be polite, confident and professional.
    Avoid negative implications.
    (i.e. Although, I do not have any legal experience, instead say: The client interview skills I learned at X job can be applied to a legal setting etc.)
    Don’t sound too much like a salesperson.
    Be assertive, but not overbearing.
    Don’t try to be humorous or clever.
    Tone of a Cover Letter
  • 8. Keep it in a Standard Business Format
    Use the same header with your personal information as your résumé
    Address your letter to a real person not “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”
    Do not overuse the word “I”
    “ I believe, I feel, or I am confident that”… should not be the opener to every sentence
    Use the active voice
    Be concise and accurate! Keep it to 1 page!
    - Remember the Cover Letter IS NOT your Résumé
    Critical Guidelines
  • 9. Length should be 3-4 paragraphs
    Introductory paragraph should grab attention and make the reader want to keep reading it
    Bring up key points:
    - geographic connection
    - alum connection
    - dedication/commitment to particular area of interest
    Use key words
    Inside the Letter
  • 10. Who are you? (i.e. class year, school, geographic ties, personal or networking connections to the organization or recipient of the letter)
    ** Remember you have to sell to them why you want to be in a geographic area (i.e grew up there, went to school there, family resides there, want to return there upon graduation, etc.)
    Why are you writing?
    Type of position you are looking for (part /time, full /time, academic year, summer).
    How you learned about the organization or what sparked your interest inthem!
    The First Paragraph
  • 11. I am a second-year law student at Gonzaga University School of Law and am seeking employment for the summer of 2010. Enclosed is my résumé for your review.
    As a second-year law student at Gonzaga University School of Law with a demonstrated commitment to community and professional service, I am concentrating my job search for summer 2010 in Seattle. Enclosed is my résumé for your review.
    Compare These Paragraphs:
  • 12. What makes you qualified for the job?
    Give examples that show your skills and abilities. DO NOT REWRITE RESUME, but find an example of something from a past job that demonstrates your skills. For example, if you say your have good writing skills, then back that up with something you wrote at a particular job. Or if you say you are a multi-tasker, give examples such as: “While I was at the FTC I was required to tend to consumer inquiries, draft legal memoranda and attend numerous meetings on a weekly basis.”
    What do you know about the organization/ firm?
    Let the firm/organization know that you’ve done your homework. Advise them of your past work with this organization, information you got from a website, information obtained from an informational interview etc. Then incorporate why, based on this information, your skills would be a good match for this employer.
    The Second and Third Paragraphs
  • 13. Close the letter.
    Thank them.
    Tell them you look forward to hearing from them soon. You can also tell them that you will contact them in the future.
    Provide any other important information the employer might need to know.
    “I will be in Seattle at the end of December and would be available to meet with you at that time.”
    Final Paragraph
  • 14. Don’t forget to sign your letter.
    Run it through spell check and then proofread, proofread, proofread and ask someone else to proofread it !!!!
    Make sure the format is correct.
    Double check the spelling/gender of the person you are writing to!
    Don’t be afraid to call to follow up about the status or to provide updated information.
    Last But Not Least…