Cover Letter Quick Insights

communication job hunt job search Nov 15, 2021
As a person who reviews applications, I'm not a fan of Cover Letters. But, I realize some organizations still require them.
What organizations will often be looking for in a Cover Letter is that the candidate has proper (in the mind of the reader) written communication skills. 
It's also a potential opportunity for a candidate to tell part of their story in a more narrative way than they're able to on their resume. 
Here are some quick Cover Letter tips for early-career engineers:
  • Do not use a template. By using letter templates, you risk leaning on tired, overused language that has no real tether to the uniqueness of you (the resume equivalent of "detail and results oriented professional" <-- no one wants to read that).
  • Instead of a template, find an outline or framework that is simple and you feel comfortable with to tell your story. For example, three paragraphs: 1) introduce your passion for ___ work, 2) tell your short story, 3) conclude by emphasizing your passion, dedication, and/or interest in learning more about how you might contribute to the position.
  • The cover letter can be a chance to showcase yourself and really stand out from the other applicants *if you have a compelling story about why you're interested in the job, why you're passionate about the field, etc. One short story is enough, it shouldn't be a novel.
  • Have someone with good writing and grammar skills review the whole letter before you convert it to pdf and submit it. Your university might have a career support office with a resource like this. If not, have a friend who is writing-savvy give it a once over.

Doors close for the next Underdog Engineers CATALYZE course on December 11, 2021. Catalyze is for early-career engineering job hunters. In Catalyze, you'll learn to draw opportunity to you, rather than falling down the resume and online job application black hole. Sessions will run over holiday break, with live lessons on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings for 3 weeks.

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