Cover Letters

Santa Clara Law Career Services presents a video on demand about Cover Letters.

Video text:

my career services presents cover letters there is a myth that employers do not read cover letters the truth is that you are applying for a writing job as a lawyer your cover letter is read and considered to be a writing sample your coming cover letter demonstrates your persuasive writing ability and how you act as an advocate for your most important client yourself the purpose of a cover letter is to catch the employers attention so that they will read your resume and meet you in person it is not a summary of your resume however you can highlight your best accomplishments from your resume in your cover letter there are three keys to successfully draft a cover letter first consider the job for which you are applying and the needs of that employer second persuasively address how your background meets the needs of that employer not any employer third properly format your letter without spelling or grammatical errors strategy one knowing the needs of the employer you need to understand the employer and their needs you can research the employer by using the career pathway guides on the long career services website and conducting informational interviews with attorneys well in advance of making applications to understand the environment in which you want to work additional resources are available by accessing the researching employers presentation strategy to crafting your argument look to see how your background and experience matches the needs of the employer for instance if the employer represents American and Taiwanese semiconductor companies and you speak Chinese and have an academic or work background with that industry realize that this is what you will be addressing in your cover letter answer the questions how do you add value and how do you differ from other accomplished law students strategy 3 proper formatting use formal business letter formatting use formal business sale salutations print on bond paper if sending a hard copy use proper spelling and punctuation the following is an example of standard business formatting note the student made their own letterhead by copying and pasting their contact information from their resume note that the date appears before the address insert the full address women are always addressed as ms and men are always addressed as mr. in the case of judges use the honorable first name and last name the salutation is always mr or ms and the last name note the use of a colon instead of a comma on business correspondence in the case of judges use dear judge or justice depending upon court level and the person’s last name your cover letter should be one page in length and three to four paragraphs if you follow the three paragraph rule you will have an introduction a body and a conclusion the introductory paragraph needs to accomplish three goals first you introduce yourself and explain why you are contacting the employer second explain who referred you or how you found out about the position and third interest the employer in reading the remainder of your resume here’s some sample language for an introductory paragraph link recommended that I contact you regarding with a background in blank I am seeking opportunities to blank I am applying for a position as blank we met at the blank in bleh I am interested in applying for blank with your firm agency or company because of type of practice ties to geographic location reputation etc my interest in practice area prompted me to contact you here is a sample introductory paragraph Sally Santa Clara a partner in your labor and employment group suggested that I apply for your summer associate program as a second year law student at Santa Clara University I am interested in pursuing a position with your San Francisco office for the summer of 2014 I am particularly interested in advisory and litigation representation of service union employees your body paragraph or paragraphs this paragraph needs to answer the question what do I offer the employer you will focus on academic accomplishments transferable skills and past work experience that relates to the position this is the most important part of the cover letter your genuine interest and enthusiasm will set you apart from the crowd sample language for a body paragraph includes sentences such as I can offer your firm specific experiences courses in link my background in blank might be a particular interest to you prior to law school I spent blank years as blank I develop strong blank skills at as blank as you can see from my background I have concentrated on obtaining experience in field area or industry with my ultimate objective to obtain a position in specific industry or field my academic achievements demonstrate that I produce quality work work hard and am dedicated to what I am doing my GPA places me in the top high rank of my class the following is a sample body paragraph I believe my experiences both during and prior to law school will enable me to make a valuable contribution to insert the name of the firm in my current position is a law clerk at insert the name of the employer I have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects including managing to corporate reorganizations from inception preparing a stock purchase agreement for the sale of a multinational corporation and advising clients on employment law matters this experience combined with my responsibility as an editor on the Santa Clara law review has provided me with the opportunity to continually develop my legal analysis and writing skills prior to law school I gained extensive experience at a public accounting firm in the areas of tax accounting and Finance which I believe are particularly relevant to your practice combining this background with my masters of business administration studies I am able to analyze problems not only from the perspective of legal counsel but from that of a client with this diverse experience I can offer insert firm’s name a strong blend of creativity intelligence and maturity the conclusion paragraph this paragraph concludes the letter thank the employer for their consideration and indicate that you hope to hear from them soon if they are out of town let them know when you will be in the area enter availability to have an interview indicate what documents you have enclosed for hard copies or attached for electronic submissions sample conclusion paragraph language includes sentences such as thank you for taking the time to review my qualifications I look forward to talking with you soon I will be in blank between the link and hope to have the opportunity to meet with you at that time I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications I can be contacted at blank and look forward to hearing from you soon I would be happy to discuss a rain for an interview the following is a sample conclusion paragraph I would genuinely appreciate the opportunity to speak with you further regarding the summer associate program in my qualifications I have include closed my resume writing sample unofficial law school transcript and unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts detailing my scientific coursework please contact me if I can provide you with additional information thank you for your time and consideration after you have sent your cover letter and your resume follow up with the submission of your application materials with a phone call or email seven to ten days after they were sent this lets the employer know how serious you are about the position we wish you good luck with your applications and we look forward to seeing you in law career services..

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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