2Today’s AgendaWhy write a cover letter? I hear they don’t even read them, and I really hate writing them!Differences between cover letters and statements/letters of interestAwesomely Bad Letters, a.k.a. What Not To DoLearning the process for writing a great letter or statementPractice and (time permitting) critique
3Why write a cover letter? Introduces youExplains why you are applyingDemonstrates your writing abilitiesDraws attention to specific qualifications that make you are particularly good match for the position
4Cover letter vs. Statement of interest Private sector vs. academiaShorter vs. longerSomewhat different content – but ultimately they aim to complete similar functions
5Both formats should do these things: Demonstrate that you understand the particular needs of the employerShow how you meet those needsPersuade the employer that your goals are aligned with those of the organizationPersuade the employer that your skills and abilities are aligned with the position requirements
15Answer:Even if you know the person to whom the initial letter is addressed, you have no idea who else in the organization will see it, so you have to be very careful with your tone and your content.
16Research HelpsAsk a lot of questions to help you figure out what you need to know:What values and skills would a person who is a good match for this job have? Do I have those skills?If I don’t have those skills, do I have skills that are similar or equivalent?What kind of personality do I have? Is it a good match for the organization?Do I have the appropriate education for the position?What kind of work experience do I need?
17Get “Insider” Info Insiders include: Your professors Anyone you have met from the potential employerAn expert in your fieldA person who holds a similar job at a different company
18Get “Outsider” Info Read the organization’s website Google the organization and see what people have said about it. Keep in mind that you may encounter extremes (both positive and negative).Talk to the Career Management Office. They may have a lot of experience dealing with the employer you are considering.
19Connect, Connect, Connect Relate your experience to the job advertisementIdentify key words in the job posting and that you found in your research about the organization.Words that signal what the employer considers important of essential in hiring for a position.Words that give you insight into the skills, accomplishments, personality traits, and levels of education and experience the employer desires (or requires).
20What are some key words here? Senior/Lead Information Security EngineerA top financial institution in Boston is looking for a Senior/Lead Information Security Engineer to help build out their Information Security Program. This is an opportunity to put your stamp on a IS program at a leading company.We are looking for a person with years of Information Security experience with hands-on experience implementing security solutions. The right candidate will have a strong understanding of network and systems engineering as it relates to security and experience with the financial services industry, as well as the ability to create and implement IS policies/procedures and best practices.Knowledge of security and control frameworks such as ISO /27002, COBIT, and ITIL are a major plus.BS in Computer Science, Engineering, Information Systems, or an equivalent field.
21Cost Engineer – Cost Estimator – Supply Chain – Financial Modeling ResponsibilitiesRequests vendor quotes RFQsCreate vendor pricing comparison spreadsheetNegotiate pricing and terms with vendorsAssist in new vendor identificationCreate and reconcile purchase orders and schedule for paymentLead planning, scheduling, and feedback communication with vendorsRequirementsStrong financial (cost estimation) backgroundMust have financial modeling experienceExcellent Excel skills are a mustMust be a systems thinker and possess process experienceMust have 2+ years of applicable financial and/or supply chain services experienceBS degree in Finance/Accounting or Supply Chain Management preferred. Will consider other relevant degrees
22Adjunct Art History Professor The Delaware College of Art and Design, located within walking distance of the Wilmington train station (Amtrak and SEPTA) is a creative partnership between the Pratt Institute and the Corcoran College of Art. Independently accredited by Middle States and NASAD, DCAD offers the AFA in Animation, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, and Photography. The curriculum requires a three-semester survey of world art (using Stokstad) and a corresponding three-semester survey of world literature taught in conjunction with composition. The college is seeking faculty to teach Art History survey courses in the summer 2014, twelve-week semester and the fifteen week Fall semester. Classes generally meet in the daytime, twice-weekly. A doctorate is preferred but not required. Graduate training and the ability to engage students is a must; an ABD, MA, or MS is acceptable.letter of interest with CV to the Academic Studies Area Coordinator
23Decide which qualities to include based on matching the most important qualities identified in the posting:Leadership qualitiesTeaching qualities and philosophyAbility to complete multiple tasks at the same time ("multi- tasking")Teamwork skillsAbility to meet deadlinesInterpersonal skillsInitiative to complete projects without supervision ("ability to work independently")Written communications skillsVerbal communications skillsComputer skills
24Be specific.Simply “name-dropping” the buzz words from the job posting will not help you.You must connect these terms to your specific skills and examples of you having demonstrated these skills or qualities in ways that led to positive results.For example, if the job asks for strong written communications skills, think about your experiences with writing. Have you done any writing at a previous workplace? If so, what kind of writing? Memos, business letters, manuals, reports? Have you taken writing classes at college? Have you won any writing awards? Have you undertaken a writing project in a previous job that was particularly successful? Yielded a positive result? For example, did you create a new training manual that made new employee orientation take less time or require fewer training resources?
25What if you don’t meet the requirements? You should apply for any job you want – within reason.Carefully consider your past experience and accomplishments to see if they are a good match for the employer.Be honest with yourself and with potential employers. They have done this hiring exercise before. They can spot liars very easily.Even if you make it past the hiring phase, having lied about your skills, abilities, or experience will quickly reveal itself when you begin working with other more experienced employees.
26Drafting the Introduction (PS) The introduction should include a salutation, such as "Dear Mr. Roberts:" If you are uncertain of your contact's gender, try to find out. Call the company. Ask the receptionist. Try to avoid having to write a salutation that uses the person’s full name, such as “Dear Caroline Carpenter.”The body of your introduction can be organized in many ways. However, it is important to include, who you are and why you are writing. It can also state how you learned about the position and why you are interested in it. This might be the right opportunity to briefly relate your education and/or experience to the requirements of the position.Many people hear of job openings from contacts associated with the company. If you wish to include a person's name in your cover letter, make certain that your reader has a positive relationship with the person you are naming and that the person you are naming knows that you are naming him/her.In some instances, you may have previously met the reader of your cover letter. In these instances it is acceptable to use your introduction to remind your reader of who you are and briefly discuss a specific topic of your previous conversation(s).Most important is to briefly overview why your values and goals align with the organization's and how you will help them. You should also touch on how you match the position requirements. By reviewing how you align with the organization and how your skills match what they're looking for, you can forecast the contents of your cover letter before you move into your argument.
27Drafting the Argument (PS) A very important part of the cover letter.Choose what to include carefully. Avoid excessive detail. Connect back to those few most important requirements you thought about earlier when examining the posting.Use your resume (and refer to it) as the evidence you will use and expand on in this section.Show your reader you possess the most important skills s/he seeks (you're a good match for the organization's mission/goals and job requirements).Convince your reader that the company will benefit from hiring you (how you will help them).Include in each paragraph a strong reason why your employer should hire you and how they will benefit from the relationship.Maintain an upbeat/personable tone.Avoid explaining your entire resume but use your resume as a source of data to support your argument (the two documents should work together).
28Drafting the Closing (PS) Your closing restates your main points and reveals what you plan to do after your readers have received your resume and cover letter. We recommend you do the following in your closing:Restate why you align with the organization's mission/goals.Restate why your skills match the position requirements and how your experience will help the organization.Inform your readers when you will contact them.Include your phone number and address.Thank your readers for their consideration.
29Academic Cover Letter Quirks Academic letters are a little different from private sector letters, but they align to the same overall goals.Show who you are: your values, your philosophy about education, teaching, and research.Show how your experiences match with what they want you to do.Show how your education has prepared you to do what they want you to do.Show how you are a good fit for the culture of their institution.Because they are a longer piece of writing, they will also be used to assess your written communication skills, and they should be well-organized, cogent, and cohesive.They always take much longer to write than you think. Start early. Plan to consult your faculty advisor and the Writing Center or Career Management.
30Thank you!After today’s session, I will this powerpoint to all session participants who signed in and provided an address.You can visit the Writing Center (http://writecenter.cgu.edu) or make an appointment with the Career Management Office (http://careers.cgu.edu) for help with cover letters.If you are planning to work in academia, the Preparing Future Faculty program can help you enormously: teaching philosophy statements, syllabus development, classroom management, and much, much more, including a certification showing your commitment to a career as an educator.