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RDrew Cover Letter Workshop


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Cover Letter Workshop given to Networking Groups

Published in: Career, Technology

RDrew Cover Letter Workshop

  1. 1. Cover Letters Presented by Ron Drew, PMP
  2. 2. The Transition 101 Model Are you prepared to do each one of these steps? Anger Help Me!! Stress Relief New Friends Foundation Onboarding Plan Get a Job Offer Networking + LinkedIN Resume Cover Letter Interview Layoff/Quit/Fired Marketing Plan No Plan = 2 strikes to start
  3. 3. What Is a Cover Letter? <ul><li>A supplement to the resume that includes more detailed information about yourself </li></ul><ul><li>It highlights key points in your resume </li></ul><ul><li>Expresses your interest in a position </li></ul><ul><li>Shows off your qualifications to a prospective </li></ul><ul><li>employer </li></ul>Hiring managers are looking for ways to exclude you as they narrow down their applications. Do not give them that ammunition.
  4. 4. What Should My Cover Letter Accomplish? <ul><li>Your cover letter should introduce the main points of your resume. </li></ul><ul><li>It should also help you to “sell” your qualifications to the prospective employer. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Cover Letter Basics <ul><li>Heading </li></ul><ul><li>Inside Address </li></ul><ul><li>Salutation </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #1 </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #2 </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #3 </li></ul><ul><li>Closing </li></ul><ul><li>Signature </li></ul>
  6. 6. Cover Letter Examples of Basics <ul><li>Heading: </li></ul><ul><li>Address </li></ul><ul><li>City, State, Zip </li></ul><ul><li>Date </li></ul><ul><li>Company Address: </li></ul><ul><li>Name of Individual </li></ul><ul><li>Company </li></ul><ul><li>Address </li></ul><ul><li>City, State, Zip </li></ul>Salutation: Dear Mr. Dear Mrs. Dear Ms.
  7. 7. Cover Letter Basics <ul><li>Main Body of Cover Letter ... Keep it brief! </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #1 – Reference the position and note how you found out about the job </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #2 – Why are you interested in the position and what are your qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #2 or 3 – Support your qualifications with examples of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph #4 – Restate your interest in the position and request an interview </li></ul>
  8. 8. Before You Write the Cover Letter <ul><li>If you have a company or employer in mind, do some research regarding their policies and principles </li></ul><ul><li>Review websites, brochures, pamphlets and any other pertinent materials you can find about the company </li></ul><ul><li>If you can, try to speak with current employees; this </li></ul><ul><li>will provide you with a unique inside perspective </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Once you’ve done your research and you have a </li></ul><ul><li>good idea of what qualifications the company is </li></ul><ul><li>looking for, it’s time to separate yourself from the rest of the pack </li></ul><ul><li>Before you begin writing your letter, take some time to brainstorm. Make a list of reasons why you’re the ideal candidate </li></ul>Before You Write the Cover Letter
  10. 10. Preliminary Research <ul><li>Find out </li></ul><ul><li>* General job </li></ul><ul><li>information </li></ul><ul><li>* Desired qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>and skills </li></ul><ul><li>* Key values and words </li></ul><ul><li>Check with </li></ul><ul><li>* Out Placement office files </li></ul><ul><li>* WWW </li></ul><ul><li>* Trade journals, </li></ul><ul><li>magazines, and </li></ul><ul><li>newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>* Company literature </li></ul>
  11. 11. A Few Things to Keep in Mind <ul><li>Do NOT over use “I” ..... </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, place the focus on the employer and use the word “you” </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid writing more than one page; since you are </li></ul><ul><li>probably competing with other applicants, employers </li></ul><ul><li>just don’t have the time to read two pages </li></ul><ul><li>The point of the cover letter is to flesh out your </li></ul><ul><li>resume’s selling points not to repeat the same </li></ul><ul><li>things that appear in your resume </li></ul>
  12. 12. Header <ul><li>Sally Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Human Resources Director </li></ul><ul><li>Beiersdorf North America </li></ul><ul><li>187 Danbury Road </li></ul><ul><li>Wilton, CT 06897 </li></ul><ul><li>Dear Ms. Smith: </li></ul><ul><li>Address your letter to a specific person, ideally to the person who will interview you. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for the person’s name in company publications, or phone the organization and ask for the person’s name or for the personnel manager. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Salutation <ul><li>If you are addressing the letter to a specific person, start out with the formal salutation : Dear Mr. Jones. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t know the name use: </li></ul><ul><li>Dear Hiring Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Refrain from using the old standby’s: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To whom it may concern </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dear Sir or Madam </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Never Use “Hi” or “Hello” or Hey There” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Introductory Paragraph <ul><li>Your first paragraph should: </li></ul><ul><li>Get the reader’s attention </li></ul><ul><li>Stimulate interest </li></ul><ul><li>Be appropriate for the job you are seeking. </li></ul><ul><li>Make your goal clear to reader and highlight the main points you will focus on in the letter. </li></ul><ul><li>Make the reader want to preview the rest of your letter. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Opening Paragraph Example Dear Mr. Drew: As the enclosed resume attests, the Business Analyst position advertised on is a perfect fit with my qualifications. My experience working as a Programmer Analyst at Unilever and my vast experience in the Information Technology has prepared for what this job requires, making me an ideal candidate for this position.
  16. 16. Solicited Application Letters <ul><li>Solicited application letters are letters written in response to an advertised job opening . </li></ul><ul><li>It is appropriate to mention where you learned of the opening in the first paragraph. </li></ul><ul><li>I believe that my knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>of sales and marketing along </li></ul><ul><li>with my proven communication </li></ul><ul><li>and leadership skills make </li></ul><ul><li>me a strong candidate for the </li></ul><ul><li>position of Marketing Director </li></ul><ul><li>posted on the Beiersdorf’s </li></ul><ul><li>Website in the Careers Section. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Unsolicited Application Letters <ul><li>Unsolicited application letters are written to companies that have not posted a job opening . </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to gain the reader’s attention and persuade them that you can contribute to the company’s goals. </li></ul><ul><li>As a company of one of the </li></ul><ul><li>fastest growing skin care </li></ul><ul><li>products in the world, do you </li></ul><ul><li>have an opening in your </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing department for </li></ul><ul><li>a recent college graduate </li></ul><ul><li>with a major in English and </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing and selling </li></ul><ul><li>experience? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Goals of the Body Paragraphs <ul><li>Emphasize your strongest qualifications or top selling points for the position for which you are applying. </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate how these qualifications will benefit the employer. </li></ul><ul><li>Refer employers to certain points in your enclosed resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide examples of your achievements that have benefited previous companies if appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific in your descriptions. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Body Paragraph Example As my resume highlights, I have offered high-responsibility computer and software support for users, IT staff and external customers. This experience, along with constant use of computers, has given me a thorough background of many different forms of software and operating systems including the Windows and Apple families, Microsoft Office, and Dreamweaver. I have also become very comfortable performing hardware and software upgrades on Windows and Mac machines and working with various types of networks including wireless and LAN. In addition, I master new skills quickly and complete tasks efficiently.
  20. 20. Detailing Your Experience <ul><li>Show (don’t tell) employers your qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Include specific, credible examples of your qualifications for the position. </li></ul><ul><li>Use numbers, names of software you've used, or features of a project that may apply to the job you want. </li></ul><ul><li>As a customer service representative at Unilever, I provided quality customer service while promoting the sale of products to customers. I also handled upwards of $200,000 sales orders per day and responsible for reconciliation of sales orders. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Using Active Language—Don’ts <ul><li>Don’t be vague in your descriptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use weak verbs such as endeavored, tried, hoped, and attempted. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use sexist language such as chairman and manpower. </li></ul><ul><li>Vague: I worked as an agent at Unilever. </li></ul><ul><li>Weak: I attempted to attract customers. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Using Active Language—Do’s <ul><li>Use concrete words to describe your experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Use present tense to discuss current activities and past tense for previous job duties or accomplishments. </li></ul><ul><li>Be as specific as possible in descriptions; list dollar amounts and figures when you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Vague: I worked as a ramp agent for Delta Air Lines. </li></ul><ul><li>  Specific : As an agent, I assisted in loading baggage, oversaw fueling the aircraft, and stocked commissary items on the aircraft. </li></ul><ul><li>Weak: I attempted to attract customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Strong: I initiated a program to attract customers to Burger King, which resulted in a 5% increase in sales for the month of June. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Organizing Your Letter <ul><li>In general, cover letters should be no longer than one typed page. </li></ul><ul><li>Organize your body paragraphs to emphasize your strongest and most relevant qualifications. Only include the two or three strongest qualifications from your resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for readers to scan your letter by beginning each paragraph with a topic sentence. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Concluding Your Letter <ul><li>Please take the time to look over </li></ul><ul><li>my resume. I would enjoy a further </li></ul><ul><li>discussion on this position in person. </li></ul><ul><li>I will follow up with you in a few days </li></ul><ul><li>to answer any preliminary questions </li></ul><ul><li>you might have. In the meantime, </li></ul><ul><li>Please do not hesitate to contact </li></ul><ul><li>me at 203-555-1234. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for your time and </li></ul><ul><li>consideration. </li></ul><ul><li>Sincerely, </li></ul><ul><li>Conclude by asking for a personal interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible regarding a date and time for the interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific about how the interviewer should contact you. </li></ul><ul><li>If you say you will follow-up, make sure you do it!! </li></ul><ul><li>Include a thank you. </li></ul><ul><li>Use “Sincerely,” to close the letter </li></ul>
  25. 25. Mailing Your Letter With Your Resume Double and Triple Check Before Sending!! <ul><li>Coordinate the design of your letter with the design of your resume (FONTS etc). </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to send both Cover Letter and Resume to prospective employers; they both reveal different kinds of information about you. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Key Points to Remember <ul><li>Appeal to company values, attitudes, goals, projects, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborate on the information in your resume. Don’t repeat the resume, highlight it!! </li></ul><ul><li>Use their words – Use the job description to help make the connection between your experiences and their employee wish-list </li></ul><ul><li>Provide evidence of your qualifications. </li></ul><ul><li>Proofread carefully for grammatical and typographical errors. The letter should be error-free. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Key Points to Remember <ul><li>Stress the Positive!! </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism is a must !! </li></ul><ul><li>Show off your writing skills – the cover letter should be an example of your finest written work. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t go over a page </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t give too much information - for example, very specific salary or geographic requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Always customize your cover letter and don’t forget to change your contact information </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a friendly and professional tone throughout the letter </li></ul>
  28. 28. Bad Example of a Cover Letter
  29. 29. Where can you go to find extra help with your cover letter? <ul><li>Department of Labor </li></ul><ul><li>Various Network Group Sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your Board of Directors </li></ul><ul><li>Ask a Friend to review it </li></ul><ul><li>Attend Network Group Presentations like this one for help with drafting, revising, and editing your resumes and cover letters </li></ul><ul><li>Google the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Hire a resume writer </li></ul>“ You are the only person on this earth who can use your ability!! --Ron Drew
  30. 30. Thank You for Your Attention <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>“ Remember that success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go” --William Feather