How to Become a Cover Letter Writing Machine (Part Two)

by Rachel Marx Boufford | July 24, 2012

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Last week, we reviewed how creating a cover letter template can save time and effort when sending out multiple job applications. However, even the best template needs to be customized before you send it out as a cover letter. Employers want to see evidence that you are specifically interested in the position you are applying for, and not just mass mailing every company with a job posting.

Here, step by step, is a guide to personalizing your cover letters:

 

1. Start by stating the purpose of your letter—to obtain the specific position advertised.

I am writing to express my interest in the events coordinator position at [Company].

2. Next, in one or two sentences, summarize why you are interested in and qualified for the role.

As a recent graduate of State College with a major in Business Administration and two years of part-time experience in an event staff role, I am now seeking to begin my career in public relations and special events. I am confident that my ambition, attention to detail and strong work ethic would make me an asset to your team.

3. Now, take a look at the section of your template that describes your qualifications. Here’s an example of how it might look as part of the template (prior to customization):

During my junior year of college, I worked part-time as part of the school’s events staff. In this role, I helped to plan and staff campus events, including set-up and breakdown. My senior year, I was promoted to Events Manager and was responsible for supervising a team of five event staff members. These positions not only gave me valuable hands-on experience in event planning and on-site coordination, but also helped me to develop a great sense of teamwork and collaboration.

4. Here’s the key step: even though you will use the qualifications paragraph in each cover letter, take an extra moment to add a sentence explaining how your experience specifically qualifies you for the position you’re applying for. It may seem obvious to you, but spell it out for the hiring manager anyway. Hint: don’t be afraid to repeat key words from the job description!

During my junior year of college, I worked part-time as part of the school’s events staff. In this role, I helped to plan and staff campus events, including set-up and breakdown. My senior year, I was promoted to Events Manager and was responsible for supervising a team of five event staff members. These positions not only gave me valuable hands-on experience in event planning and on-site coordination, but also helped me to develop a great sense of teamwork and collaboration. I believe that my experience in these roles has prepared me to execute and plan programs for [Company], including managing event logistics and supervising vendors and staff.

5. Repeat the above steps for any other relevant experience or qualifications you have.

Sure, it’s a bit more work to customize your cover letters. But the payoff—more interviews—is certainly worth the extra effort.

Filed Under: Resumes & Cover Letters

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