Strategies For Writing Cover Letters

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welcome to strategies for writing cover letters I’m dr. Julie died the instructor for multimedia writing and this online workshop is to help you with strategies on writing cover letters to enable you to be successful in lab 2 for lab 2 we’re asking you to write a cover letter and a resume and we hope this is going to help you be prepared for internship and volunteer opportunities course in addition to completing an assignment for class a really good way to help you get ready to maximize your experience for this lab 2 assignment is to consider this question what do you hope to be doing professionally after you graduate and in considering that question then kind of backing up to well what should you be doing this semester or next semester or next summer to help you meet your goals reaching your professional goals is a multi step process here’s Lauren Gonzales one of our former students who is in her second internship in New York City here with Laura Lee Laird and partners as a digital strategy intern she previously was an intern at House Beautiful and she certainly illustrates some of the steps that you go through and trying to reach professional goals often it involves taking classes and sometimes it requires earning at certain degrees it involves developing your skills which you can be doing in classes and internships but you can certainly be doing on your own if you haven’t done so yet you should check out lynda. com IND a. com on the elearning side it has literally hundreds of tutorials on different skills that you could be interested in adding to your skillset internships are a must in our field and we find students are most successful in the job market or those who have had at least two internships by the time they graduate part of the reason is it enables you to network and that oftentimes leads to connections that lead to opportunities and of course being successful in reaching your professional goals involves persistence your own initiative and let’s face it sometimes just good fortune and to get the whole process started you need those application materials and that’s what we’re going to be helping you with with lab 2 so your objectives for this online workshop arm to know what the expectations are for the lab to cover letter to know the role of the cover letter in the job process to know what contents you should include in a cover letter to know what the structure is for a cover letter and I’ll also be giving you some tips for writing cover letters you certainly have resources out there to assist you chapter xxii and our textbook writing reporting news provides advice about the whole job and internship process and includes sample cover letters and also a sample resume UF’s Career Resource Center has a lot of information including sample cover letters and resumes so be sure to use those to assist you in the process so what are we going to be looking for as we evaluate your cover letter for lab 2 well first have you selected an appropriate business or organization to apply for and an appropriate role it should be something that involves media skills or has a communications focus we’re going to be looking to see that you demonstrate your knowledge of the business so your cover letter needs to indicate you’ve done your homework your cover letter needs to explain your skills and abilities as they relate to the job position let me stress all the information about you needs to be true you can’t envision yourself as you might be as a senior applying for a job if you hope next semester you’re going to be involved in an organization but you aren’t right now don’t include that in your cover letter or resume and also that your cover letter has an appropriate tone I think many people often like to think they can be funny or sarcastic and that certainly can even be challenging face to face but that’s very difficult to pull off in writing and is not appropriate to pull off in a cover letter well a question people often have when they’re writing their first cover letter is to say well if I have a resume a good resume why do I need a cover letter well keep in mind hiring is a process so typically the first stages are submitting a cover letter and a resume this is the college of journalism and communications interviewing day and to be accepted to participate you have to submit not just a resume but you have to write a cover letter to each particular organization you’re interested in interviewing with this lets them know that you’re interested in their organization and their job opening you need to have a portfolio we’ll be talking more about this the semester and certainly something you want to be thinking about with volunteer and internship opportunities is what could you include in your portfolio having references who could provide letter or over the phone or email endorsement of what you can accomplish and interviews that oftentimes it will involve one if not more interviews to work your way into the job process and then finally the job process oftentimes includes some kind of background check this can be as formal as a police report or it can be as informal as being googled what would people find out about you if they were to check you out on Facebook for example so what should your cover letter contribute to the whole process of you getting an internship or a job well it indicates to the employer that you know the organization we mentioned a good cover letter includes information about the business so it shows that you know the business not just that you’re applying to dozens of internship opportunities although you may be doing that you want to customize each one and that you’re interested in this specific position so it’s important early in the letter to indicate what you’re applying for and it also enables you a good cover letter to tell your story and to highlight information from your resume so it’s kind of like connecting the dots being able to help people see what you see and your progress is an individual so as you prepare to write that cover letter you’ve made the decision about the organization or business that you’d like to be interning or volunteering with you want to learn about that organization because that’s going to help you be more effective in writing a cover letter that lets them see how you can fit in particularly with their organization so what are some tips then as far as what you should include in your cover letter well one is to think about work specific qualities that you have it could be in writing graphic design software that you know how to use web skills it could be using social media and a business setting it could be photography or video experience it could be working in teams to meet goals it could be business or financial skills that you have and all of these as you’re considering what skills do I have then what are the skills that would be best to talk about in terms of applying for this specific internship or a volunteer position and then what are personal qualities that you have that would be helpful in the job that you have a lot of personal responsibility that you’re good at managing your time attention to detail working with others having a positive outlook creativity having excellent health and attendance so as you go through and consider what are your work skills and your personal qualities then you’re wanting to consider how you can include that in your cover letter and we’ll say a little bit more about that in a moment but the key point is making sure the you don’t try to have a shopping list of qualities that you pick several and that you support those with examples so what are some tips for cut writing cover letters well you want to make sure that you engage the reader right from the beginning we’ll talk about a news writing we call that the lead in your opening paragraph you want to get your reader interested and reading more about the letter and part of that is often illustrating that you know the organization in that first paragraph you’re typically wanting to indicate what you’re wanting what is the position that you’re applying for and then as you have the rest of your letter you want to explain what you have to offer you want to provide highlights from your resume that will then encourage the reader to want to further explore those in the resume you want to provide specific examples to back up what you say either about your work skills or about your personal abilities to help illustrate how those have actually happened obviously you’re talking about yourself but you want to watch that you don’t over use I so one thing to check for is making sure that every sentence is not starting with I and then ultimately your last paragraph you want to initiate a response unless you’ve been told and the announcement about the volunteer or job position don’t contact us that often it’s a good thing to say that in a week that you’re going to be contacting to see if you can provide any further information so what about the structure of a cover letter here are the basic parts this is wouldn’t be called a modified block style if you were doing business school kind of writing so what are the parts once your contact information which you see in the upper right hand corner also including the date that you’re sending the letter and again you may be using the same kind of structure if you’re being asked to apply by email that you could be sending this but in our lab we’re asking you to actually print this as a letter you include the business address you include the salutation which in this case is dear miss Marie you notice it’s got a colon following that you have the body of the letter in this case it’s five paragraphs but again thinking about what does each paragraph contribute that introductory paragraph and then typically two to three paragraphs that discuss those personal and work skills that you have having your closure Sincerely Yours is a good one including space there for your signature and then at the bottom having typed out your name and then in many cases at the very bottom you would include enclosure or enclosures or attachment that would indicate you’re submitting additional materials so you’ve got the structure of your letter let’s highlight again something very important as you write each of those paragraphs about work skills or personal skills make sure that you provide at least one specific example to back that up so in other words if you said wanted to talk about being responsible one example could be talking about being business editor of the yearbook and what that showed about your responsibilities it could be the fact that you’ve been a babysitter and that could show your responsibility or it could be the fact that you’re handling all your own college expenses and again that shows your responsibility so think of something that you could use to back up those skills that you have you also may want to check the Career Resource Center that it has a cover letter preparation that kind of outlines how you might organize a cover letter and one last piece of advice don’t make any fact errors that this is very important we deduct points for that and lab but more important a fact error and application materials can wind up leading your application right into the recycling bin so next steps for lab to make sure you’ve read chapter 22 and look for those samples watch the online workshop on strategies for writing resumes if you haven’t done that already determine the organization you want to apply to and the opportunity develop that list of qualities to include in your letter and then write your cover letter to coordinate with your resume and take both of those it’s digital files with you to lab 2 you’ll have an opportunity for a coaching opportunity and lab you’ll be able to revise to turn those in and then also you’ll have those digital files that you can use for applying for internships and job and volunteer opportunities..

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