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Thread: Cover Letters

  1. #1
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Cover Letters

    I am in the process of rewriting my resume and want to include a cover letter. What do employers look for (in general) in a cover letter? What are your suggestions on writing one?

    What resources are available for cover letter writing?

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    SitePoint Zealot hello2paul's Avatar
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    Surprisingly enough there is a Resume Cover Letter Website

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    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link!

    So lets say I am sending my resume through e-mail. The cover letter should be the actual e-mail body to the employer correct?

    I am trying to get a little discussion going to create a kind of resource for people who are going to be looking for this stuff

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    SitePoint Zealot hello2paul's Avatar
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    Okay - you've caught the right guy here - as I've also applied for jobs recently online - via an employers website.

    The two cases are:
    1. Send an email to someone, (requiring opening your own PC's email software - Outlook Express etc),
    2. Fill in the online application on the webpage - with the big white box for "supplementary information"/covering letter.

    In both cases the covering letter should be the main body of the email/"big white box" - with the resume attached for the email, or resume "uploaded" to the website if that technology exists there.

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I always create a different resume/cover letter for each job I'm applying for and I put it all in one document, with a page break of course.

    The cover letter is formal.


    18 July 2005


    James Smith
    Technical Director
    Some Company
    123 their street
    city, state zip


    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I typically start here by identifying the position I am applying for and express my interest in it.

    In the next paragraph I discuss how my technical skills match what they are looking for. I use examples to support my information.

    In the third paragraph, I discuss other skills taht I could bring to the team, i.e., project management, work well with others, leadership abilities, etc.

    In the last paragraph I reitereate my interest in the position and assure them I am a good match for their organization. Often I will look up the company's website and if they have a mission statement online, I look it up and try and tie what I say here to that.Then I thank them for their time and consideration and close it by saying I look forward to speaking with them soon.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Your Name

    If you don't know the contact's name, call and ask HR. It is much better to have a Dear Mr. Smith, than a generic salutation. If I absolutely can't find their name, I will write Dear Sir or Madame:


    EDIT: I meant to include that in my email, I simply address the individual and say something like:

    I am writing to express my interest in the Java developer position with your organization. I have attached a cover letter and resume for your review.

    Thank you,

    Your name.
    Sara

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    Best example of a cover letter I have ever seen. And damn easy to follow.

    Every paragraph was laid out exactly where it should be and written so it couldnt be misunderstood.

    Well done SES5909


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    there is no box baztorres's Avatar
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    Sara,

    Great cover letter outline, thanks
    Baz
    ---

  8. #8
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Thanks Sara! Great example!

    I am going to try and get this thread stickied as a general resource for employment "pre-game" stuff.

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone and glad you liked it Hartmann -- hope it helps.
    Sara

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    that's cool Sara, its actually the same format that my high-school english teacher told me to use for writing a cover letter!!
    Another thing that she told me & something which I've also seen from my experience is that the cover letter should be bare minimum, no-nonsense stuff, totally to the point, nothing extra, and then again, you should say more in less words, and mainly emphasise on what value you can bring to the company and why you should have the job. If the letter is not precisely to-the-point or if its a bit long, the guy wouldn't even bother reading it. Same goes for the resume, it should be to-the-point at all times.

    And another thing that I learned is that at the end of cover-letter, write something like
    I look forward to have a personal meeting with you to further explain as to why I'm suitable for the job and can benefit your company. Please feel free to contact me anytime at <phone> to schedule a meeting, I'll be available at your convenience.
    This is something that a lot of cover-letters miss(as I've seen it & I've seen a lot of them as I did interview a number of people for 2 jobs sometime back). I think that its something that conveys some professionalism to the HR guy and also tells him that you are really serious about the job and not just another of those shooting in the dark groping for something.
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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    You're right funda. I've been told that my line "I look forward to speaking with you" soon is cocky and I'm assuming too much. I imagine the "I look forward to a personal meeting" would get the same response.

    But to me, it's not arrogant.. it's confidence. There is a difference and I think employers see that.
    Sara

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    You're right funda. I've been told that my line "I look forward to speaking with you" soon is cocky and I'm assuming too much. I imagine the "I look forward to a personal meeting" would get the same response.

    But to me, it's not arrogant.. it's confidence. There is a difference and I think employers see that.
    Yes, there are more HR Managers who think that this shows confidence rather than those who think its arrogance!!
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    Your communication skills and your personality should get reflected in your cover letter. You have to prepare your cover letter in such a way that your hiring manager finds it interesting enough to keep reading it till the end and then finally calls you for an interview. There shouldn't be any spelling and grammatical errors in it. You should also paint a picture of how hiring you will help the company.
    ---------------------------
    <self promotion removed>
    Last edited by stymiee; Feb 28, 2006 at 07:27.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    yes, that's right. most of the times the Cover Letter is read before the Resumé. so the cover letter should be such that the manager gets interested in seeing the resumé, sometimes the cover letters are so badly written that the manager doesn't find it worth his time in going through the resumé.
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    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    I know that this is an old thread but I had another question and felt it would be most suited here.

    Lets say I am applying for a position with a less "formal" company, a web startup. They have a very laid back atmosphere and their website says to contact them about the listed positions. Should the cover letter be in the same format or less formal?

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    I would follow the basic structure Sara laid out (awesome example! First time I've seen this thread, but that's basically how I lay out my cover letters as well ), but you can be more conversational if you think that is what they are looking for. It might help if you can demonstrate that you know something about the company you are applying for a position at. Mention some specifics about the company that shows that you've read every bit of their webpage.

    To add to this, I usually write back about every 7-10 days to keep my name on their minds. I try not to sound pushy while being assertive by coming up with an "excuse" for each followup--rather than just a generic "hey, remember me?" email. For example, in the first one I usually reiterate my interest and ask if they have started interviewing. Then if I haven't heard anything in another week, I might write back and mention something I read on their website or about their industry that piqued my interest and has me even more excited about the prospect of working with them.
    Last edited by Bleys; Feb 28, 2006 at 01:34. Reason: typos
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmann
    I know that this is an old thread but I had another question and felt it would be most suited here.
    I think it hardly matters as long as what you say is within SP's guidelines!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmann
    Lets say I am applying for a position with a less "formal" company, a web startup. They have a very laid back atmosphere and their website says to contact them about the listed positions. Should the cover letter be in the same format or less formal?
    well, in that case, I'd say that that's the reason why cover letters should be templates which one can send to every company!! I write mine seperately for each position(be it same company or different) after reading up on the company and the position I'm applying for. So if the company is less formal, then I'd also go a bit(a bit means "a bit") less formal in my cover letter, make it sort of conversational like Josh said, make them feel that you are the "cool" guy they are looking for.
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  18. #18
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your added input. I am not a writer (by any means) so I am struggling to find the correct way to word things. I'm going to keep plugging at it and hopefully I will get this sent out before the end of the day.

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    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    One thing I would include in your cover letter for this company is your interest or excitement in being involved with the company as it is starting and how you'd like to be a part of its success. If you have any interest in starting your own company some day, mention that. Alot of start-up companies need people with entrepreneurial minds.
    Sara


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