Cover Letters For College Students

This video was created as part of the summer training for NC State’s College Ambassadors in the Career Development Center.

Write up:

hey CDC ambassadors it’s Wes again I hope you’re having a great summer let’s just dive into this next module I know everybody’s got stuff going on this next one is going to be about cover letters so what we want to do in terms of how to get in cover letter shape and stand out is really just going to focus on conditioning yourselves or conditioning your cover letter so you can stand out just like if you were going out for any kind of race which it looked like a lot of you were including myself and I am sure your train is going better than my toes right now or like this gorilla right here who’s running a marathon I’m sure he’s going to do great so let’s just dive into it I’ll piggyback on some of the things we talked about in the resume module as well so the first thing when we want to get in cover letter condition where we want to get our cover letter into a great shape and stand out is passion and passion is going to be that key element that is going to help you to stand out set yourself apart from the other candidates an example is you go out for a job and there’s you and then there’s candidate B both you and candidate being or equally qualified you have amazing recommendations and everything else but you know what candidate B has amazing passion they just have a lot of just personality that they bring to the table and they seem to be really dedicated to what they want to do and you can see that in their cover letter and in their interview this is going to be the difference maker in a tough job market so when we’re looking at all of these pieces of a cover letter keep this in mind because you’re gonna want at you’re going to want to use this is kind of the glue that you know put some of these things together and I know you’re probably thinking well how do i how do I show passion in a cover letter well one of the ways that you show passionate and cover letter is by being direct clearly stating what you want using great examples and we’re going to go through all that but also using action verbs that’s another way to show some passion so let’s look at some other things that go into getting in cover letter she picking your weight knowing your weight all right so if you were exercising or you dewayne’s you don’t want something that’s too light you’re not going to get any kind of condition out of it you know when something’s going to beat you’re gonna hurt yourself and you won’t be able to accomplish the goal that you want to set so it’s the same thing with a cover letter there’s different kinds of cover letters which one are you going to use so let’s look at the three different types of cover letters that we have one is an application cover letter this is going to be the typical one that we all think about it’s going after a job application so you see a job or job posting and you make a cover letter to go after that the next one is going to be a prospecting cover letter and this one is exactly what it says it’s going out to a prospective employer you’re not really sure if they have any open positions it’s not a firm line in the sand if you want to say to say hey I know you have this it’s really just putting some touches and feelers out there to see what they have available and letting them know who you are and the third one which i think is a great tool that we don’t utilize as much as we should although we do have Linked. In for this as well is going to be your networking cover letter so a networking cover letter is a great tool for gathering information and also for finding someone at a company that you want to work at who really can be a champion for you or ball carrier they can really be on your side and help to give you this specific inside data that you need to set yourself apart from other candidates let’s remove on to the next next piece here good form if I’m exercising right now mayne for triathlon and my swimming is it very good I used to be a pretty good swimmer but I jumped in the pool and my form was terrible so I really have to take some advanced lessons to get good form so it’s the same thing with your cover letter if your cover letter doesn’t have a good form you’re not going to be able to accomplish the goal of getting an interview like you want so let’s look at some of the aspects to go into having good form with your cover letter paragraph one there’s going to be three basic paragraphs and we’re going to start with first one here which is going to be the introductory an intro paragraph introductory paragraph excuse me so it’s approximately going to be three sentences long and what you want to do is you want to let them know who you are you know so you know hello I found your job online on careerbuilder or on linkedin you want them to know where you got the position from and then you want to grab their attention you really want to say something that’s going to be very specific to what they do or that job that you’re going out for and that’s really going to help them to say okay this person really wants this position they know about us they’re not just throwing a boilerplate cover letter together the next paragraph is going to be your body and the body is going to be the most important paragraph out of the hole cover letter in my opinion you can split the body paragraph into two separate paragraphs but remember you want your cover letter to be concise you wanted to be one page you don’t want it to keep running on in the body paragraph one of the big things you want to do is you want to restate your resume but you don’t want to just regurgitate your resume you want to take some very specific qualifications from your resume and expand on them in ways that you weren’t able to do that’s going to be what the body is going to do so you want to elaborate on those qualifications point out any specialized training as well and this is a great section here to use those action verbs and really show your really show your passion so if you’re able to do a good body paragraph it shows you can effectively communicate and if you put some good qualifications in there then they’re really going to start to scratch their head to say this person is really interesting I wonder how they’re going to fit let’s see what they’re made of bring them in for an interview the next thing is going to be your third paragraph which is your conclusion and you want to keep the conclusion brief just like the introductory paragraph right but you also want to make sure that you think the potential employer you want to mention how you’re going to follow up and have a very positive tone be genuine when you’re thanking them because you are genuinely thankful that they read your cover letter out of the probably hundreds of cover letters that they got for the position the other thing is you want to confirm one very specific qualification that you feel is your best qualification thank you very much reading my cover letter I feel that I’m a great fit for this position because of my my great ability to analyze quantitative data so you know something a little bit more specific than that but just kind of a general idea now the next thing that you want to be aware of is you don’t want to do this alone a lot of times we look at little videos like this we google it would go out there and we start researching and we think that we can kind of control this process on all on our own you’re part of a great team here at NC State with the Career Development Center you have some great co workers and you have some great counselors such as Marcy and Jenna and Jane and all these other people who are part of the team where you could reach out to people and get some opinions plus you have other people that you know parents friends of parents other co workers supervisors give opinions on your cover letter let people make some edits and some revisions don’t go at this alone use your resources because the person who gets the job or gets the interview for the job they’re going to use all those resources so let’s do a quick summary all right so five quick tips that first paragraph you want to make sure that you are interesting that you’re grabbing that reader’s attention because they’re going to be reading a lot of cover letters the next thing is in paragraph two you want to pick some key qualifications from your resume that are specific to that job and you want to expand on them and then you want to use the star method we didn’t really mention that a whole lot in this video but it is something we talked about in the resume video star method situation task action result this is how you want to explain your qualifications and use some action verbs the fourth thing we’re going to say is show gratitude and follow up hey I want to follow up well don’t use hey but I want to follow up with you you know two weeks from now is that okay and make sure that you actually follow up and genuinely thank them and number five keep it short and simple the kiss philosophy I love it make sure your cover letter is concise make sure it doesn’t have any grammatical errors make sure that it’s pleasing to the eye you know these things are all good and make sure it’s concise so that’s it for the cover letter module here I hope you enjoyed it have a great summer and we will see you soon bye..

The job hunt is competitive enough but to help you get a leg up we suggest this free audiobook download on how to get the right job faster. You can thank me later.


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