Graduate Student Cover Letter Structure


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This handout will be helpful for any graduate student that is working on a cover letter for their job applications. It takes you through which each paragraph should be and how to organize your letter.

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Graduate Student Cover Letter Structure

  1. 1. Career Center Graduate Student Cover Letter Structure Your Present Address City, STATE Zip Code Date Contact’s Name Contact’s Position Title Employer Name Street Address City, STATE Zip Code Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Contact’s Name: (OR “Dear Hiring Manager”), 1st Paragraph (Introduction) • Briefly describe who you are (e.g., “completing PhD in Social Psychology at Duke University”) • Express enthusiasm and interest in the position • If you were referred by a specific person in the company, you can mention it here • Outline the rest of the document (connecting your most relevant skills/experiences, based on the job description and your previous research, to the actual position/organization) – set up the structure that you will follow (e.g., focusing on communication skills, then analytical skills, then real-world experience; OR focusing on problem solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and then technical skills, etc.) 2nd – 4th Paragraphs (Body – Elaborating on specific experiences, skills, & fit – Order of these paragraphs depends on importance and how you’ve outlined it previously) • Tell a story about or describe your experience that references several of the necessary qualifications for which the employer is asking (e.g., communication skills, technical expertise, analytical skills, etc.) • Tell another story showcasing a different aspect of yourself that is relevant to the position – You can think of the structure of the Cover Letter and Resume as similar (start with the most important/relevant experiences) • Explicitly state aspects of the role, team, and organization that you are applying to and emphasize your fit • Provide evidence that you have the skills/experience/talent necessary and that you will utilize these in the most relevant and productive way for that particular organization Final Paragraph (Next Steps) • Thank them and reaffirm your enthusiasm about the role, team, and organization • Restate your confidence in the fit between your background and role/expectations • Detail your next action (e.g., “will follow-up with a call,” look forward to interviewing with you,” etc.) Sincerely, Your Typed Name Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708
  2. 2. Job Description Principal Data Analyst Big Bank LTD. • Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis of econometric data, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters to provide useful information. • Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests; communicate feedback to internal clients around strength/relevance of criteria/requests for creating business relevant information. • Translate data into useful information via strong analytic, synthesis, and communication skills • Develop complex data structures to support the generation of business insights and strategy. • Maintain data infrastructure and develop scripts to automate recurring processes. • Analyze data analysis requests obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational problems and define data modeling requirements, validation of content, and problem solving parameters. • Use intuition and real time market intelligence to contextualize data/information and communicate your conclusions to inform product and marketing discussions. • Ability to tell compelling stories using data/information in order to persuade/influence an audience. • Identify opportunities to use data analysis to develop new strategies and improve business performance and utilize knowledge of mathematical modeling and other optimization methods to perform quantitative and qualitative data analysis. • Strong grasp of statistical approaches to data analysis; familiarity with analytic stats packages such as Stata, minitab, or vista is a plus. • Utilize programming and analytical tools including SAS, SQL, Teradata or similar relational database tool, and Unix to formulate mathematical or simulation models. • Communicate and present data to management by developing easily digestible text/reports. • Create communications suitable for public distribution to thought leaders, industry leaders, academics, clients, and mass media as needed. • Serve as ambassador/speaker for the function when interfacing with colleagues from across the organization; explains the value add of data analysis in simple language, to the effect of growing our portfolio of internal clients Qualifications The position requires a Master’s degree or foreign equivalent in Economics, Finance, Engineering, Mathematics, Science, Information Technology or a related quantitative analytical field, or equivalent experience. Must have the following skill set, through formal education or work experience: quantitative and qualitative data analysis; data modeling; developing reports; Teradata or similar relational database tool; SQL; SAS; Unix programming. Must have worked with significant data sets, and be comfortable manipulating such data sets to identify trends and extract useful information. Must be a gifted communicator, with a broad awareness of domestic cultural trends and interest in global markets. Duke Career Center • • 919-660-1050 • Bay 5, Smith Warehouse, 2nd Floor • 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950, Durham, NC 27708