What do you put in a  Cover Letter

What do you put in a Cover Letter PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Learning Objectives. Provide advice on writing cover lettersResponding to a job advertisementCanvassing for employmentReferral letters following a recommendationAccompanying separate selection criteriaTips for competing online employer applicationsAnswer your questions . Why cover letters ar

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What do you put in a Cover Letter

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1. What do you put in a Cover Letter? Welcome and Introduction ECD delivers a number of job seeker seminars across all campuses – keep checking the website for upcoming details and news of other events and activities ECD services are free to students at all levels In this session there is some important information we want to give you. We also want to make sure we give you information that is important to you. Open conversation/identify level of understanding What concerns you about cover letters? What do you want to make sure we talk about today? Who has written a cover letter before/who hasn’t? Welcome and Introduction ECD delivers a number of job seeker seminars across all campuses – keep checking the website for upcoming details and news of other events and activities ECD services are free to students at all levels In this session there is some important information we want to give you. We also want to make sure we give you information that is important to you. Open conversation/identify level of understanding What concerns you about cover letters? What do you want to make sure we talk about today? Who has written a cover letter before/who hasn’t?

2. Learning Objectives Provide advice on writing cover letters Responding to a job advertisement Canvassing for employment Referral letters following a recommendation Accompanying separate selection criteria Tips for competing online employer applications Answer your questions Today’s session will offer tips on writing cover letters and how you might tailor them for different situations There is a handout for you to takeaway We will aim to dispel some of the myths eg cover letters are not that important it is your resume that counts; you need to exaggerate to get an interview Please ask questions at any time throughout the session – you may have information/advice to share with other studentsToday’s session will offer tips on writing cover letters and how you might tailor them for different situations There is a handout for you to takeaway We will aim to dispel some of the myths eg cover letters are not that important it is your resume that counts; you need to exaggerate to get an interview Please ask questions at any time throughout the session – you may have information/advice to share with other students

3. Why cover letters are important Your introduction to the recruiter Markets you as suitable for interview Makes statements about Your work readiness Business communication skills How you match a job role and organisation This may be the first contact with the employer It has value as a stand alone document reflecting written communication skills, maturity, organisational ability, ability to follow instructions etc. Employers want targeted applications; therefore no “one size fits all” cover lettersThis may be the first contact with the employer It has value as a stand alone document reflecting written communication skills, maturity, organisational ability, ability to follow instructions etc. Employers want targeted applications; therefore no “one size fits all” cover letters

4. Your letter should……… Link your career aspirations to the employer Be specific about how you match the job Include job reference numbers Be brief and to the point Be positive in tone and language Be written by you and expressed in 1st person Follow instructions provided by the employer Attention to detail is very important Don’t take up space in the letter with sentences that don’t tell the employer anything about your attributes eg “I noticed in the job advertisement that you were looking for staff with good customer service skills” – they already know this so you should focus on detailing your good customer skills and experience Avoid expressions such as “Although I don’t have any experience……..” as it is negative. Be clear and confident about what you have to offer Try to write it forward looking eg Compare the following “I have worked in retail with Target for 4 years, serving different types of customers” TO “My previous experience as a retail assistant with Target gave me a good understanding of customer service in a major retail environment and provided experience in assisting diverse customer groups, building my confidence in handling complex customer enquiries.”Attention to detail is very important Don’t take up space in the letter with sentences that don’t tell the employer anything about your attributes eg “I noticed in the job advertisement that you were looking for staff with good customer service skills” – they already know this so you should focus on detailing your good customer skills and experience Avoid expressions such as “Although I don’t have any experience……..” as it is negative. Be clear and confident about what you have to offer Try to write it forward looking eg Compare the following “I have worked in retail with Target for 4 years, serving different types of customers” TO “My previous experience as a retail assistant with Target gave me a good understanding of customer service in a major retail environment and provided experience in assisting diverse customer groups, building my confidence in handling complex customer enquiries.”

5. Your cover letter should not……. Be a generic letter you send with all applications Have any spelling or grammar errors Be too familiar or casual in tone and language Have attachments that were not requested eg photographs Use unprofessional e-mail contact details Begin every sentence with “I” Am I repeating myself? YES because it is important Employers want a targeted letter Sometimes people use gimmicks to get attention – DON’T eg coloured paper, letters sent with chocolate Keep it professional in layout and format It should be written in prose, not bullet points Get someone else to read it if you are not sure you have produced a good letter Am I repeating myself? YES because it is important Employers want a targeted letter Sometimes people use gimmicks to get attention – DON’T eg coloured paper, letters sent with chocolate Keep it professional in layout and format It should be written in prose, not bullet points Get someone else to read it if you are not sure you have produced a good letter

6. A suitable format includes…. Your return address/e-mail details Date Name and job title of contact person Name and address of organisation Appropriate forms of address eg Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs or Dear Sir/Madam Reference - publication and position number Content of letter Appropriate closure and signature Everyone’s documents look a bit different – aim to produce a cover letter that best describes you and what you have to offer the employer in your own words. This framework can provide a guide Avoid using given names unless it reflects the informality of the employer Yours faithfully, Yours Sincerely are suitable ways to sign off Don’t use casual signoffs like cheers, even in e-mails and even if you know the person – your application for work is business communication HANDOUT – Sample Cover Letter from ECD shows a finished productEveryone’s documents look a bit different – aim to produce a cover letter that best describes you and what you have to offer the employer in your own words. This framework can provide a guide Avoid using given names unless it reflects the informality of the employer Yours faithfully, Yours Sincerely are suitable ways to sign off Don’t use casual signoffs like cheers, even in e-mails and even if you know the person – your application for work is business communication HANDOUT – Sample Cover Letter from ECD shows a finished product

7. What to include in the contents….. 1ST paragraph Explain why you are writing to them 2nd paragraph Explain why you want to work for that employer and express interest in the specific job role Show a match between your career aspirations and what is on offer 3rd paragraph Detail relevant qualifications and experience Explain how you applied or developed skills or knowledge 4th paragraph Expand on relevant skills and personal attributes These should match the employer requirements 5th paragraph Finish on a positive note expressing interest in meeting at interview Here is a guideline that may help structure your letter to make it easy to read You would probably not go beyond 6 paragraphs Go through each of the paragraphs in detail here. 2nd para – its not just about researching the company – ask a student in the audience why they want to work for XYZ They want to see your passion and commitment to the organisation 4th para – don’t just list skills. Give examples of tasks and responsibilities from your experiences that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for. Finding it hard to keep to a page? -remove superfluous language -review your information – is it the most relevant to this employer? -edit and say it more concisely Get students to look at the example. Here is a guideline that may help structure your letter to make it easy to read You would probably not go beyond 6 paragraphs Go through each of the paragraphs in detail here. 2nd para – its not just about researching the company – ask a student in the audience why they want to work for XYZ They want to see your passion and commitment to the organisation 4th para – don’t just list skills. Give examples of tasks and responsibilities from your experiences that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for. Finding it hard to keep to a page? -remove superfluous language -review your information – is it the most relevant to this employer? -edit and say it more concisely Get students to look at the example.

8. The 1st paragraph Responding to Job Advertisement Please accept my application for the position of Graduate Accountant, Reference Number 1243, as advertised in The Age newspaper on June 21, 2008. In support of my application I provide a resume and a copy of my academic transcript as requested. I would like to apply for a 2009 graduate position within the Transfer Pricing section of Tax and Legal Services at Princely Consulting. Following a review of your company website and discussion with your staff at the Monash University Careers Fair, I understand my anticipated qualification of Bachelor of Economics makes me a suitable candidate for this position. The introductory paragraph will differ according to the situation Here are some examples of how you can start off a letterThe introductory paragraph will differ according to the situation Here are some examples of how you can start off a letter

9. The 1st paragraph Canvassing for employment As a 4th year Chemical Engineering student at Monash University I write to enquire about potential work opportunities available with Life Source Water during the period January – March 2009. I am particularly interested in your company’s progressive approach to water management. My final year project investigating the environmental impact of wastewater services in the Lower Valley region developed skills that I believe will benefit your organisation. You need to make the connection early with the employerYou need to make the connection early with the employer

10. The 1st paragraph Referral letters from a recommendation I am writing to enquire about employment opportunities with your organisation on the recommendation of Professor Boots, from the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University. She suggested you might be interested in the research I have undertaken on the education outcomes of Horn of Africa refugees in the western suburbs of Melbourne. My understanding is your organisation is committed to creating business opportunities for recent arrivals and I would appreciate meeting with you to discuss how my research could be used to develop program initiatives. The name of the person who suggested you contact the employer and the relationships might need explanationThe name of the person who suggested you contact the employer and the relationships might need explanation

11. The 1st paragraph Accompanying selection criteria documents The usual practice is to supply details of how you match every selection criterion on a separate document. Specific examples are given as evidence. For this reason the cover letter should be very brief. Please accept my application for the position of Policy Adviser with Parliament Victoria as advertised on July 10th, 2008 in the VPS Gazette. In support of my application I provide the following information. Statement of Claims to Selection Criteria Resume Details of 3 Referees This letter will be very brief – maybe only 2 paragraphs as the information most relevant to the employer will be in your Statement of ClaimsThis letter will be very brief – maybe only 2 paragraphs as the information most relevant to the employer will be in your Statement of Claims

12. Finishing the letter The last paragraph Appreciation What do you want to happen next? Thank you for reviewing my application. I look forward to discussing it at interview. If you would like to contact me about my application I can be reached on 0143 668 495 or by email [email protected] . Polite thanks for reading application is sufficient Make it easy for the employer to get in touch with you Sound positive about following up the application at interviewPolite thanks for reading application is sufficient Make it easy for the employer to get in touch with you Sound positive about following up the application at interview

13. Using e-mail – what is different? Employer address not required Write for on-screen readability Paragraphs are shorter Bullet points are ok Only use capital letters for headings Always follow the employer instructions Sometimes it is appropriate to have the cover letter in the body of the e-mail If you are attaching your cover letter and resume to the e-mail you should have a brief message in the body of the e-mail: Dear Mr Always follow the employer instructions Sometimes it is appropriate to have the cover letter in the body of the e-mail If you are attaching your cover letter and resume to the e-mail you should have a brief message in the body of the e-mail: Dear Mr

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