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Agenda. How do cover letters and resumes differ in style and content? What is involved in planning to write a cover letter? How can your cover letter set you apart from all the other applicants?. What do cover letters do?. Cover letters…. Address a specific person

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Agenda

Agenda

  • How do cover letters and resumes differ in style and content?

  • What is involved in planning to write a cover letter?

  • How can your cover letter set you apart from all the other applicants?


What do cover letters do

What do cover letters do?


Cover letters

Cover letters…

  • Address a specific person

  • Indicate position for which you’re applying

  • Show what differentiates you from other applicants

  • Demonstrate knowledge of company and position

  • Emphasize match between you and company

  • Ask for the interview/next step


Matching yourself to the position

Matching yourself to the position

  • Know what you bring to the table

    • Make a list of your top 5-7 transferable skills

    • Come up with a specific “story” for each

  • Know what the company needs

    • Analyze the job description

    • Make a list of required and desired skills, abilities, and characteristics


For example

For example…


For example1

For example…


For example2

For example…

Focus on 2-3 key skills in depth, rather than many superficially!


Cover letter parts

Cover letter parts

Part 1

  • Connect with audience

  • Show sincere interest in company and position

  • State the purpose of your letter

    Part 2 (1 or more paragraphs)

  • Respond directly to the job description

  • Show how your specific skills will allow you to contribute

  • Give a few in-depth examples rather than many superficial ones

    Part 3

  • Provide next steps relevant to the situation

  • Give contact information

  • End on a positive note


Part 1 sample

Part 1 sample

To whom it may concern:

My name is Kathryn Adams and I am a Master of Accounting student at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. I have read your company profile in our database, and I have a strong interest in your company. I believe that working with a top company, like yours, will give me the experience I need to supplement my coursework and help me become a successful business professional upon graduation.


Part 1 revised

Part 1 revised

Keep the self-intro brief

Personalize the letter

Dear Mr. Hunt:

As a Master of Accounting student at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, my goal is to work in the automotive industry. Ford’s reputation as a “Fortune Five” company would make the Finance Internship program an ideal way for me to learn about the industry, while putting my quantitative, analytical, and leadership skills to work. Please consider me for your closed interview schedule in January.

State your purpose

Use the company’s own language


Part 2 sample

Part 2 sample

Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional. I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it was as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice cream store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my extracurricular involvement, such as being President of the Ross finance club, which is not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my work, such as when I was a camp counselor to six girls under 12 who looked up to me as a role model. As you will see on my resume, I also have strong quantitative skills, as demonstrated by my excellent grades in demanding classes. I know that I can make an immediate difference at Ford, because I am the kind of person who always adapts to new environments.


Part 2 starting to revise

Part 2: starting to revise

Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional. I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it was as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice cream store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my extracurricular involvement, such as being President of the Ross finance club, which is not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my work, such as when I was a camp counselor to six girls under 12 who looked up to me as a role model. As you will see on my resume, I also have strong quantitative skills, as demonstrated by my excellent grades in demanding classes. I know that I can make an immediate difference at Ford, because I am the kind of person who always adapts to new environments.


Part 2 starting to revise1

Part 2: starting to revise

Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional. I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it was as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice cream store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my extracurricular involvement, such as being President of the Ross finance club, which is not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my work, such as when I was a camp counselor to six girls under 12 who looked up to me as a role model. As you will see on my resume, I also have strong quantitative skills, as demonstrated by my excellent grades in demanding classes. I know that I can make an immediate difference at Ford, because I am the kind of person who always adapts to new environments.


Part 2 evaluating how to revise

Part 2: evaluating how to revise


Part 2 evaluating how to revise1

Part 2: evaluating how to revise


Part 2 revised

Part 2 revised

Quant. skills

Organization

Crit. thinking

Leadership

People/team

My strong quantitative skills and ability to organize my time have allowed me to earn top grades in all of my Finance and Accounting classes. Outside the classroom, I have applied these skills as a volunteer to help elderly and disadvantaged people prepare their tax returns. Putting the real-world implications of class material to work allowed me to better understand the concepts and to develop my ability to think on my feet.

My leadership skills began to develop when I was a camp counselor and have grown while at Ross. Two years ago, as Senior Counselor, I helped eight 12-year-old girls bring their diverse personalities and backgrounds together to form a cohesive unit. Not only did my girls win the camp sports competition, they still keep in touch with me and each other. As the first MAcc elected as president of the Finance Club at Ross, I’ve continued to build my leadership skills. One of my first executive projects was an outreach campaign to first-year preferred admit students.


Part 3 sample

Part 3 sample

My excitement for this position is unrivaled. I truly believe that I can make an immediate contribution as an intern and I request that you strongly consider my application. Please schedule an interview on your closed list between 8 am and 11 am, as those are the times when I will be available to meet. You may feel free to contact me by email if you should have any questions in the mean time. I appreciate your attention to this matter.


Part 3 revised

Part 3 revised

Please consider me for your closed interview schedule in January, so we can discuss the fit between my experiences and your needs more fully. Please contact me at 734-669-1568 if you have any additional questions. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Tips for writing a great letter

Tips for writing a great letter

  • Researchand understandcompany needs (use their language in writing your letter)

  • Frontloadkey information (in the letter as a whole, in paragraphs, and in sentences)

  • Be politeand appropriately formal (not too informal, not condescending, not too academic or stuffy)

  • Be specific(avoid “I am impressed with your company,” “I have many applicable skills,” “I believe I am the best candidate,” and other things ANYONE could write)

  • Proofread(look for typos, grammatical errors, long sentences)


Best practices for emailed cover letters

Best practices for emailed cover letters

  • Keep it brief (one screen)

    • Take key elements from cover letter:

      • Connect with reader

      • State purpose

      • Give one short example of a key skill

      • Thank reader and ask for next step

  • Attach the cover letter as part of the resume file

  • Remember emails are easily forwarded – consider secondary and tertiary audiences


Communication consultants

Communication consultants

  • Trained in the core concepts we teach in communication

  • Most have real-world business experience

  • Students who utilize the office give them an average rating of 5/5

  • What can they can help with?

    • Understanding task, defining purpose, and evaluating audience

    • Organizing and developing content

    • Grammar, punctuation, style, and general English usage

  • Evening and phone appointments available

  • Sign up at: http://www.bus.umich.edu/CounselingCalendar/WritingProgram/


Questions work time

Questions/work time


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