Presentation on theme: "How to Hit the Mark in Just Three Paragraphs"— Presentation transcript:
1How to Hit the Mark in Just Three Paragraphs Cover Letter CreationHow to Hit the Markin Just Three Paragraphs
2What is a cover letter?An Introduction: who you are and why you are the best candidateAn Opportunity: show off your skills and unique qualitiesAn Introduction: who you are and why you are the best candidateAn Opportunity: show off your skills and unique qualities that set you apart from the restLEAD IN! not a deal closer
3Why is it Important?Basically: Demonstrates how well you communicate in writing and shows some of your personalityDemonstrate your professional experienceAllows you to expand on your qualificationsCommunicate Professionalism
4Where to Begin? #1 Find a job/internship you are qualified to apply to APP Database (practicum search only)Job Search resources:Online Recruiting (Optimal’s Job Board)Organization’s websiteNetworkingAccess specific positions, job titles, employers, etc.Target the qualifications required for the positionsHone your list of positions to apply to down to a list of realistic jobs
5Begin Basic Construction #2 Read the job description and brainstorm the elements for ideas on what you would like to include in each body paragraph:paragraph 1-why you are writing and why you want the jobparagraph 2-qualifications (why should they hire you)Paragraph 3 - just a few sentences about how to contact you
6Begin Basic Construction #3 Highlight key words and phrases in the ad to be used in writing the letter#4 Make a bulleted list of your qualifications and how they best apply to those required of the positionThis is the time to get them all on paper, you can edit later; much of this information can come from your resume
7Writing the First Paragraph Include the position title and how you found the position.Make a connection between you and what you know about the organizationTip! Do your research on the mission/goals, etc., to prove your genuine interest. Every cover letter you write should be tailored to each position you apply for.
8Sample Position Description Information for first paragraph:Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. is one of Chicago's oldest and largest social service agencies. Since its founding, Ada S. McKinley has been a non-discriminatory, non-sectarian and non-political organization with a mission of promoting individual and family welfare, preserving and encouraging human potential, dignity, and self-development and aggressively serving the community. In fulfilling its mission, the Agency continues expansion of service to thousands annually through child care, education/college preparation and placement, mental health, foster care and adoption, vocational training/job development and placement, residential living arrangements, and other services by serving the community through an increasingly effective network of social services.Let’s take a look at a sample job description. What stands out to you that would be of use in the first paragraph
9Create and Edit! Sample first paragraph: Re: Internship Training Opportunity at Ada S McKinley Community ServicesI am writing this letter to apply for the open student training position at Ada S McKinely Community services. As a currently a student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, my clinical training closely aligns with the training need and opportunity at your site. I have an ambition to work in community mental health with children and families, and your mission of preservation and encouragement of self-improvement and maintenance of dignity falls in line with the work that I would like to do.
10First Paragraph GoalWow your reader with the first paragraph: Two-three sentences about the company, position, and why you are interested. Make it about them, not you.
11Writing the Second Paragraph Refer back to your resume and list of accomplishments/skillsIdentify the needs and opportunities listed in the ad you will address in the letterMatch up the needs in the ad with your accomplishments/skills
12Sample Position Description Information For Second ParagraphIndividual, Family, and Group Therapy: Provide Individual therapy to children, adolescents, and some adults as a part of Individual Treatment Plans in the office and/or community settings (i.e. home and school). 2. Development of Individual Treatment Plans based on Person-Centered Planning, Strength Based, and Evidenced Treatment as determined by Medical necessity. 3) Implement Psycho-educational Group services for parents or WRAP groups for children or adolescents receiving intensive level of services. 3 Provide family therapy within office and/or home setting to address specific therapeutic objectives as determined by Individual Treatment Plan. 4) Participate in activities related to quality assurance in terms of documentation of services and evaluation of outcomes.Many times, the requirements or needs will be more than you can address in the ad. Pick the ones you think are the most important to the employer (from doing your research) or the ones you that would be your strongest match and selling points.
13Sample Position Description Information For second paragraph cont’dIdeal Student 1. Be community oriented and willing to provide services within a community setting. 2. Be comfortable working in low socio-economic neighborhoods. 3. Be interested in assessment and planning. 4. Be recovery oriented. 5. Be interested in working collaboratively with schools, families, court, caseworkers, etc. 6. Be available to work varying hors. 7. Be comfortable working with diverse populations.
14Create and Edit! Sample 2nd paragraph Additionally, the following qualities and attributes that I’ve developed and acquired in past experiences have suited me well to both work with and learn from you:List specific populations and clinical presentations you have worked with; list specific therapeutic interventions you have experience using.Excellent communication skills as noted by previous teaching experience, working in customer service, and serving on a student advisory board in my undergraduate course work.
15Create and Edit! 2nd paragraph cont’d Ability to handle general administrative duties, which have been essential in my work as in customer service positions, in my volunteer tutoring job, and office assistance workStrong organization skills as indicated by my work in recruiting members for my fraternity, organizing and keeping volunteers on task at my volunteer site, work study for the office of admissions, etc.We recommend bullets which help your accomplishments and qualifications to stand out. Bullets also eliminate the need for transitional phrases which can bore the reader and cause you to rabbit trail (lose focus) in your writing.
16Second Paragraph GoalDemonstrate to the reader in a concise, relevant, and impactful manner that your qualifications match what they are looking for
17Writing the Third Paragraph Work on a signature closing statement; ‘thank you for your time’ is cordial, but this is your chance to leave a lasting impression: make it a positive and proactive one
18Create and Edit! Sample 3rd paragraph I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to speaking with you further about my skills and qualification. You can reach me by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx and/or by atThank you for your time,Joe StudentXxx-xxx-xxxxAvoid being overly emotional, words like: enthusiastic, thrilled, very, highly qualified, passion. Sometimes these words are appropriate, but more often than not, it can be overkill.You can also include what time of day you are most likely available by phone to speak.
19Third Paragraph End Goal End with a professional but positively memorable closing statement including: your contact info ( /phone), what the next step may be (i.e. “I would appreciate an interview to discuss this opportunity further”), and a pleasant thank you.
20Editing Tips!If sending electronically, write the letter in Word first, then copy and paste it into the body of the .Avoid starting every sentence with a personal pronoun.Use an active voice; not passive words such as: believe, think, feel, might, all of which make you sound uncertain and lacking in confidence
21Pit-Falls to AvoidDon’t assume the reader will have read/ will read your resume: the second paragraph is a chance to pick your prime experiences and show them offDon’t let the cover letter become a second resume: tailor the letter unique to the employer – why you’re special, and why you would fit in there
22Pit-Falls to AvoidIf someone asks for a cover letter, it’s for a reason, don’t blow it off. This is your chance to prove that you’ve done your research and are prepared to interview with the companyBe sure to have someone edit your cover letter with you-many employers view the letter as a writing sample, so be sure you’re putting your best forward.
23Pit-Falls to AvoidDon’t overdo the letter with fancy fonts, etc., font no smaller than 11pt, special paper not necessary – this letter is to show you off, not your abilities to be flashyIf you cannot find a contact name for the position, avoid “to whom it may concern”. Instead use the heading Re: (position title), or, if applicable, Dear HR representative, Hiring Manager, etc.Most cover letters should only be one page in length…depending on your field.
24Congratulations!You have all the tools you need to craft a interview-scoring cover letter