I enjoy writing targeted cover letters in partnership with clients (after we’ve written the resume). Every paragraph is a ‘punchy’ selling point, which goes to the heart of the application.
If you want to go it alone, here are some tips.
Don’t use the same cover letter for different job applications. This is where generic cover letters fail.
Your cover letter must show that you know what the job involves and what the organisation is looking for.
Be as specific as you can about your skills and qualities and how they match the job or organisation’s needs.
At the start of your cover letter, explain which job you’re applying for.
Write a paragraph about why you want this particular job. What is it that excites you about the position? A good motivational paragraph towards the top of the letter can often get you an interview.
Put your name and contact details at the top of the letter.
You don’t have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number. Make sure you’ll be able to answer the phone number you give.
Include two or three paragraphs which matches your skills and experiences to the job description. If you’re answering a job ad, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. Don’t forget to sell yourself.
It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and experience. Answer those too.
Remember, you are writing a job application. Keep a formal tone.
Cover letters for Internships
If you are applying for an internship you will probably have to submit a cover letter as part of your application. Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific internship.
Highlight skills and abilities that relate to the specific internship listing. The theme is convincing the reader that you will be an asset as an intern.
If you have limited work experience, you might use examples from university or school to demonstrate that you have particular skills. For example, if the internship requires you to work as part of a team, provide an example of a successful team project you worked on during one of your courses.
You can also include details about your relevant experience from extracurricular activities or volunteer work. For example, a history of volunteering at a shelter can provide an example of strong interpersonal skills.