Image courtesy of Inspiringinterns.com
By Fernando Cordova
There’s nothing more stressful than applying for a job, going through the interview process, and awaiting an employer’s response. Whether it’s an internship, part/full-time position, or an on campus job, there are only two possible responses to our application efforts: an acceptance or a rejection. Since our aim should always be to strive for that job offer, we often do as much as we can to obtain it. By supplementing our resumes, networking with people familiar with our desired opportunities, and seeking advice from our peers, we go above and beyond to receive an acceptance at our preferred internship or job.
When looking at the application process for these opportunities, something that almost all of them have in common is the part where employers get to know you on a personal level. Besides the interview portion, some jobs and internships may ask applicants to write a cover letter. Although an interview is essential to any application process, an outstanding cover letter can make a person stand out from the rest. According to Indeed.com, a top job recruiting website, hiring managers use cover letters as a means to examine an applicant’s personality while also paying attention to crucial details such as communication skills and the ability to express yourself compellingly. In other words, employers want to know who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the job by reading your cover letter.
Cover letters are a way to highlight not only your accomplishments and previous experiences but also your work ethic and your approach to specific situations. However, what’s the best way to write an effective and compelling cover letter? Here are some tips:
- Introduce yourself, indicate what you’re applying for, and say why you’re interested in the position. This section should be one of the first things written in your cover letter. Besides the basic introduction of stating your name, major, and school, employers want to know the reason why you’re applying for a specific internship/job opportunity. It should be stated clearly; and in such a way that it would make you stand out. Consider a unique opening line or say something along the lines of, “I am excited to apply for” or “It is with great enthusiasm that I inform you of my intent to.” It’s phrases like these that will let employers know that you are assertive about your desire to apply, which can play a crucial factor in their decision.
- Write a background paragraph and say how those experiences make you uniquely qualified. Background paragraphs are probably, if not the most crucial part of cover letters. Not only is a candidate supposed to list their most relevant job/internship experiences, but also explain how the skills obtained would prove useful to the position they desire. It’s those skills that employers want applicants to showcase. By focusing on your skills obtained from past work and relating them to a specific position, employers will see that you’re someone with the know-how and willingness to succeed. When writing this section, make sure to be as descriptive as you can be while also writing concisely. That way, employers will know that you mean what you say while also getting straight to the point.
- Conclude by saying how you’re uniquely qualified from the rest. Although this section may be similar to your background paragraph, it’s purpose is to highlight those personal qualities that will allow you to be successful at the position. Whether it’s your dedication, ability to be relied on, or willingness to go above and beyond what you’re called to do, those qualities are meant to make you stand out from the crowd. Employers will use these qualities to determine whether you’d make an excellent fit for the job or internship.
In addition to writing about your personal qualities in your conclusion, you always want to make sure that you end the cover letter off on a good note. Using phrases such as “I look forward to speaking with you about [said opportunity” or “I am passionate about [name of position] and look forward to what I can contribute” affirm employers about your enthusiasm for the position, which can impact their decision making.
All in all, cover letters are meant to bring out the best in someone because people have the chance to highlight their talents, accomplishments, and qualities that would make them best suited for a job or internship. However, cover letters must always be compelling and read in a way that would make readers seem like they’re directly speaking to the author. By doing so, cover letters act to supplement any application for a job or internship.