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Cover Letters. The Office of Career Services . Agenda. Cover Letters: Why you need one General Tips Cover Letter Structure Common Cover Letter Errors International Students: Cover Letter Review Process Questions. Cover Letter. Do recruiters always read cover letters? No

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cover letters

Cover Letters

The Office of Career Services

agenda
Agenda

Cover Letters: Why you need one

General Tips

Cover Letter Structure

Common Cover Letter Errors

International Students: Cover Letter Review Process

Questions

cover letter
Cover Letter
  • Do recruiters always read cover letters?
  • No
  • Should I always write one?

A. YES!

why cover letters
Why Cover Letters?
  • Proper job search etiquette – The handshake
  • Enables you to introduce yourself and your reason for communication.
  • Helps exhibit a bit of your personality and positive skills and attributes that may not be gleaned from your resume.
  • Enables you to let the employer know why you are the best person for the position.
  • Gives you the opportunity to request an interview.
  • Can be a huge differentiator!
general tips
General Tips
  • It is a formal business letter
    • It must be only one page
    • Block format
    • 11 or 12 point font
    • Left justified
  • A template can be found on page five of the Smith Cover Letter Guidelines.
business letter format
Business Letter Format

Your Street Address

City, State Zip

Date (Month, Day, Year)

Mr./Ms./Dr. Full Name of Recipient

Title of Recipient, Company Name

Recipient Street Address

City, State Zip

Re: Title of position

Dear [Mr./Ms. Last Name] OR Dear Hiring Manager:

FIRST PARAGRAPH

SECOND PARAGRAPH

LAST PARAGRAPH

Regards,

(Your handwritten signature goes here if mailing, faxing

scanning, or hand delivering it)

Your Typed Name (first and last)

Enclosure

general tips1
General Tips
  • Address it to a specific individual.
    • If you do not have the reader’s name use “Dear Hiring Manager:”
  • Always tailor your cover letter.
  • Focus on the employer’s needs, not your own.
  • Limit the use of the word “I.”
  • Have a strong ending.
cover letter structure
Cover Letter Structure
  • The Introduction
  • The Sell
  • The Close
the introduction
The Introduction
  • What position
  • Where you located the position
  • What you know about the company
  • Express interest in the company and /or position
introduction example
Introduction - Example

As a second year MBA student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, I was excited to learn about the ABC Company Marketing Manager position posted on HireSmith. I am highly impressed by ABC Company’s strong stance on corporate social responsibility as it is a cause that I value a great deal. In fact, a review of my enclosed resume will show that I have developed a record of achievement at similar organizations in the past. This, combined with my interest and two years of experience in marketing, provide me with the skills, experience, and dedication to contribute to the success of your organization.

introduction example1
Introduction - Example

As a second year MBA student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, I was excited to learn about the ABC Company Marketing Manager position posted on HireSmith. I am highly impressed by ABC Company’s strong stance on corporate social responsibility as it is a cause that I value a great deal. In fact, a review of my enclosed resume will show that I have developed a record of achievement at similar organizations in the past. This, combined with my interest and two years of experience in marketing, provide me with the skills, experience, and motivation to contribute to the success of your organization.

introduction example2
Introduction - Example

As a second year MBA student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, I was excited to learn about the ABC Company Marketing Manager positionposted on HireSmith. I am highly impressed by ABC Company’s strong stance on corporate social responsibility as it is a cause that I value a great deal. In fact, a review of my enclosed resume will show that I have developed a record of achievement at similar organizations in the past. This, combined with my interest and two years of experience in marketing, provide me with the skills, experience, and motivation to contribute to the success of your organization.

introduction example3
Introduction - Example

As a second year MBA student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, I was excited to learn about the ABC Company Marketing Manager positionposted on HireSmith. I am highly impressed by ABC Company’s strong stance on corporate social responsibility as it is a cause that I value a great deal. In fact, a review of my enclosed resume will show that I have developed a record of achievement at similar organizations in the past. This, combined with my interest and two years of experience in marketing, provide me with the skills, experience, and motivation to contribute to the success of your organization.

introduction example4
Introduction - Example

As a second year MBA student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, I was excited to learn about the ABC Company Marketing Manager positionposted on HireSmith. I am highly impressed by ABC Company’s strong stance on corporate social responsibility as it is a cause that I value a great deal. In fact, a review of my enclosed resume will show that I have developed a record of achievement at similar organizations in the past. This, combined with my interest and two years of experience in marketing, provide me with the skills, experience, and motivation to contribute to the success of your organization.

the sell demonstrate your value
The Sell – Demonstrate Your Value
  • Know what your prospective employer needs.
  • Know what you have to offer.
  • Speak the employer’s language.
the sell demonstrate your value1
The Sell - Demonstrate Your Value
  • Identify the hard skills, soft skills, experience, level of education, and other items being sought by the employer.
the sell demonstrate your value2
The Sell - Demonstrate Your Value
  • Identify the key hard skills, soft skills, experience, level of education, and other items being sought by the employer.

2. Identify which skills and experience you have.

use your highlighter
Use Your Highlighter
  • Remember the highlighting exercise?
the sell demonstrate your value3
The Sell - Demonstrate Your Value
  • Identify the key hard skills, soft skills, experience, level of education, and other items being sought by the employer.
  • Identify which skills and experience you have.
  • Ask yourself, “Where and when did I obtain or use these specific skills? What did I accomplish?”
the sell demonstrate your value4
The Sell - Demonstrate Your Value
  • Identify the key hard skills, soft skills, experience, level of education, and other items being sought by the employer.
  • Identify which skills and experience you have.
  • Ask yourself, “Where and when did I obtain or use these specific skills? What did I accomplish?”
  • Write about it in paragraph two.
the sell example
The Sell - Example

While reviewing your job posting, I noticed I have many of the qualifications you seek:

Analytical and Modeling Skills

  • Awarded for developing models for risk assessment and resource allocation of projects.
  • Applied customized financial models for IT, CPG companies, conceptualized risk‐reward investment

strategies, and forecasted returns based on fundamentals.

Interpersonal & Communication Experience

  • Conducted projects with multinational teams across two continents involving Operations, Finance,

Marketing and General Management divisions of five corporations.

  • Led five large scale IT implementation projects creating strong business relationships leading to $2M in additional contracts.
  • Awarded the Best Customer Satisfaction Ratings from 25 different product categories.

Proven Academic Accomplishments and Business Improvement Focus

  • GPA: 3.6, Honors: In top 5% of the class in undergraduate school and a GMAT of 720 and achievement of the Dean’s Scholar Award at Robert H. Smith School of Business.
  • Applied Carnegie Mellon’s quality improvement principles at Hewlett Packard, saving maintenance costs of $1M.

(This example can be found on page 6 of the Smith Cover Letter Guidelines)

the sell example1
The Sell - Example

Analytical and Modeling Skills

  • Awarded for developing models for risk assessment and resource allocation of projects.
  • Applied customized financial models for IT, CPG companies, conceptualized risk‐reward investment

strategies, and forecasted returns based on fundamentals

Interpersonal & Communication Experience

  • Conducted projects with multinational teams across two continents involving Operations, Finance,

Marketing and General Management divisions of five corporations.

  • Led five large scale IT implementation projects creating strong business relationships leading to $2M in additional contracts.
  • Awarded the Best Customer Satisfaction Ratings from 25 different product categories.

Proven Academic Accomplishments

  • GPA: 3.6, Honors: In top 5% of the class in undergraduate school and a GMAT of 720 and achievement of the Dean’s Scholar Award at Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Quick tip for easier writing:

Copy and paste this section into a working MS Word document for future use.

the close
The Close

Always include a confident finish that invites the reader to take action.

As my record shows, I have consistently exceeded expectations in the past, and I am confident that I have developed a level of professional resourcefulness that will enable me to do the same at your firm. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my skills and experience can meet the needs of ABC Company. Please feel free to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or myemail@rhsmith.umd.edu if you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview. Thank you for your consideration.

Always be professional and courteous.

what if there is no job posting
What if there is no job posting?

Introduction

  • Remind the reader of your meeting if you have met.

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and other managers from XYZ Brand Company recently at the National XXXX Conference. After speaking in further detail with Sue Davis, a Brand Manager at your company and Smith ’07 MBA, I am enthusiastic about the brand management internship opportunity at XYZ Brand Company.

(This example can be found on page 7 of the Smith Cover Letter Guidelines)

what if there is no job posting1
What if there is no job posting?

Introduction

  • Or mention the name of the contact who referred you.

ABC Consulting is not only a prestigious firm, but one that really invests in the development of its consultants. My conversations with Dan Marshall – a current case team leader – reinforced my belief that this separates ABC Consulting from the other firms, and is my central reason for applying.

(This example can be found on page 9 of the Smith Cover Letter Guidelines)

what if there is no job posting2
What if there is no job posting?

The Sell

  • Incorporate highlights of your skills as they relate to positions within the organization.
  • Use the information garnered from
    • Informational Interviews
    • Company Research
    • Other Sources
what if there is no job posting3
What if there is no job posting?

The Close

  • Invite the reader to take action.
  • Advise that you will follow-up periodically.
  • Always include your contact information.

Although I am aware that no position is currently available, an extra copy of my resume is enclosed for your records, or to pass along to someone else within the organization. Feel free to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or myemail@rhsmith.umd.edu if you have any questions or if a position becomes available. I will be sure to keep in touch with you in the interim as well. Thank you for your consideration.

common grammatical errors
Common Grammatical Errors

There, They’re, Their

It’s, Its

Our, Are

Your, You’re

additional tips
Additional Tips
  • Use friendly and confident language.
  • Do not restate your resume verbatim.
  • Keep it simple. Read the letter out loud. If you stumble on words, rewrite it.
  • When using email, your cover letter should be no longer than one screen in length (Under 150 words).
  • Always use standard cover letter protocol when writing emails.
  • Avoid the use of emoticons and abbreviations.
  • Never hit send without spell checking your letter.
don t forget to proofread
Don’t Forget to Proofread !

I look forward to meeting you shorty.

Sincerely,

seek out available resources
Seek Out Available Resources

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

  • Your MBA Career Coaches
  • The Cover Letter Guidelines
international students
International Students

Cover Letter Review Process

  • Send the first draft of your cover letter to Marcelo Barros, the International Career Coach.
  • Send the second draft of your cover letter to your Functional Area Career Coach: Dori, Jeff, Kasandra, or Dolores .
questions or comments

Questions orComments?

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