How to Write a Cover Letter

Despite the fact that you’ve just passed your exams in December and started the second semester, we decided to share our advice on how to prepare a Cover Letter for your graduate job hunting. Never forget that the one who has the information is the one who rules the world!

Here we will touch on the structure of the letter and the information you should include to raise your chances of landing an interview.

Purpose of your Cover Letter

The main idea of a Cover Letter is to provide better insight for an employer on the sorts of experiences and education you have already mentioned in your CV. This does not mean that you have to duplicate the same information; on the opposite, you need to be even more concise not to bore your employer but at the same time shine a light on your achievements, research and projects undertaken.

Therefore, through your Cover Letter you have to find a way to persuade your employer why you are the best candidate for the job. In a way, you can treat it as a sales pitch where you are marketing your skills to get an interview.

Structure of your Cover Letter

By using a rule of 3, you should structure your Cover Letter in 3 main paragraphs where you state:

  1. your interest in the advertised position and why the company should hire you;
  2. your work experience up-to-date which meets the requirements of the job;
  3. the skills you have mastered and the competences you would like to gain with the company.

In the top right corner of your Cover Letter you write your personal details like shown below:

Elisabeth Parker
34 Park Lane
Boston, MA 02210
+1 321-209-4512
elisabeth.parker@gmail.com

Then on the left you always write the date of your application:

21.11.2018

Underneath the date, you should write the coordinates of the company and the person to whom you are addressing your motivational letter. It means you should do a prior research on the internet or do some cold-calling to make your letter sound more personal. Among thousands of applicants, it will show already that you have made some efforts to get to know the company and their website. This will make the recruiter look more attentively at your letter. For example:

Alan Oldham,
Head of Derivative Products Division
Morgan Stanley
1585 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

Important Information

In the first paragraph, you state that you are a student and you mention the subject in which you are majoring and the name of your school. Then you explain how you found out about the company and what you like about their services/culture/projects. You can write that you heard about their company through your school, your friend, their website, career forum etc. At the end of the paragraph, you write what position you are applying for. Here is an example:

“I was recently introduced to your company via an insight day program on my university campus. I was impressed with what I learned about the entrepreneurial culture of your firm and the international scope of projects that interns in your company get to work on. I am interested in pursuing a ___ position  at your company, and have enclosed my resume and Cover Letter below.”

In the second paragraph, which effectively contains the most important information of your letter, you should mention no more than 3 experiences which are the best fit for the job you are applying for. The most important is to be precise with the type of projects, responsibilities and research you have undertaken. If you have made presentations for the company’s clients, assisted the directors, established partnership with 5 partner organizations, you should definitely write it down in this section; it is even better if you could state a numerical outcome because employers like concrete results. Student societies and extra-curricular activities with managing projects, money raising campaigns and Everest climbing results can be included as well.

In the third paragraph, you can write down that you have developed certain expertise and that you would like to implement these skills while working on the company’s projects; at the same time, you would like to improve your industry awareness, for example. Here is an indication of what to mention in the last part:

“Coming from an engineering background and having worked on numerous technical projects, I have developed strong numerical and analytical skills which I would like to use to assist the firms in the Midwest region to reduce their operational expenses. Impressed by your portfolio of clients in processing and construction industries, I look forward to joining your company and making a real contribution as a member of your team.”

At the end of your letter, you can include a digital signature to make it look more professional.

Extra Hacks

It is better to enclose a Cover Letter in pdf format with an email where you should write a few lines to describe yourself and the position you are applying for.

Always show your letter to another person to check the spelling mistakes as well as to see if it is clear what you are trying to say.

Keep it simple and short.

Adapt your letter to the vacancy, do not send generic Cover Letters – they will not do a good job for you!

You can find samples of Cover Letters adapted for different industries here.

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