CoverLettersJm - University of Michigan`s Ross School of Business

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Agenda
• How do cover letters and resumes differ in style
and content?
• What is involved in planning to write a cover
letter?
• How can your cover letter set you apart from all
the other applicants?
1
What do cover letters do?
Resume
Cover letter
Adapted to a position
Adapted to specific
needs of a specific
company
Shows how transferable
skills meet company
needs
Uses sentences and
paragraphs
Summarizes
transferable skills
Uses short, parallel
phrases
2
Cover letters…
• Address a specific person
• Indicate position for which you’re applying
• Show what differentiates you from other
applicants
• Demonstrate knowledge of company and
position
• Emphasize match between you and
company
• Ask for the interview/next step
3
Matching yourself to the position
• Know what you bring to the table
~ Make a list of your top 5-7 transferable
skills
~ Come up with a specific “story” for each
• Know what the company needs
~ Analyze the job description
~ Make a list of required and desired skills,
abilities, and characteristics
4
For example…
What I have
What company needs
Leadership
People (team) skills
Communication skills
Organization
Ambition/drive
5
Letter’s focus
For example…
What I have
What company needs
Leadership
Ambition/drive
People (team) skills
Leadership
Communication skills
Analytical skills
Organization
People skills
Ambition/drive
6
Letter’s focus
For example…
Focus on 2-3 key skills in depth, rather than
many superficially!
What I have
What company needs
Letter’s focus
Leadership
Ambition/drive
Ambition/drive
People (team) skills
Leadership
Leadership
Communication skills
Analytical skills
People skills
Organization
People skills
Ambition/drive
7
Cover letter parts
Part 1
~
~
~
Connect with audience
Show sincere interest in company and position
State the purpose of your letter
Part 2 (1 or more paragraphs)
~
~
~
Respond directly to the job description
Show how your specific skills will allow you to contribute
Give a few in-depth examples rather than many superficial ones
Part 3
~
~
~
Provide next steps relevant to the situation
Give contact information
End on a positive note
8
Part 1 sample
To whom it may concern:
My name is Kathryn Adams and I am a Master of Accounting student at
the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
I have read your company profile in our database, and I have a strong
interest in your company. I believe that working with a top company,
like yours, will give me the experience I need to supplement my
coursework and help me become a successful business professional
upon graduation.
9
Part 1 revised
Personalize
the letter
Keep the selfintro brief
Dear Mr. Hunt:
As a Master of Accounting student at the Stephen M. Ross School of
Business, my goal is to work in the automotive industry. Ford’s
reputation as a “Fortune Five” company would make the Finance
Internship program an ideal way for me to learn about the industry,
while putting my quantitative, analytical, and leadership skills to work.
Please consider me for your closed interview schedule in January.
State your
purpose
Use the company’s
own language
10
Part 2 sample
Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that
I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope
that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop
them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional.
I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my
ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it was
as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice cream
store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my extracurricular
involvement, such as being President of the Ross finance club, which is
not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my work, such as when I was a
camp counselor to six girls under 12 who looked up to me as a role
model. As you will see on my resume, I also have strong quantitative
skills, as demonstrated by my excellent grades in demanding classes. I
know that I can make an immediate difference at Ford, because I am
the kind of person who always adapts to new environments.
11
Part 2: starting to revise
Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that
I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope
that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop
them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional.
I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my
ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it
was as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice
cream store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my
extracurricular involvement, such as being President of the Ross
finance club, which is not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my work,
such as when I was a camp counselor to six girls under 12 who looked
up to me as a role model. As you will see on my resume, I also have
strong quantitative skills, as demonstrated by my excellent grades in
demanding classes. I know that I can make an immediate difference at
Ford, because I am the kind of person who always adapts to new
environments.
12
Part 2: starting to revise
Even though my work experience so far has been limited, I believe that
I can bring a unique combination of skills to the position, and I hope
that working for Ford will allow me to build on these skills and develop
them even more fully so that I can grow as a leader and a professional.
I am very interested in personal growth, and I have demonstrated my
ability to learn and grow in every job I have held so far, whether it
was as a lifeguard at summer camp or as a cashier in my parents’ ice
cream store. I am also a strong leader, in my classes, in my
extracurricular involvement, such as being President of the Ross
finance club, which is not an office MAccs usually hold, and in my
work, such as when I was a camp counselor to six girls under 12
who looked up to me as a role model. As you will see on my
resume, I also have strong quantitative skills, as demonstrated by my
excellent grades in demanding classes. I know that I can make an
immediate difference at Ford, because I am the kind of person who
always adapts to new environments.
13
Part 2: evaluating how to revise
Skill
Company
wants?
Good
example?
Ability to learn & grow Maybe
No
Strong leader
Yes
Has potential
Strong quant. skills
Yes
Has potential
Adapt to new env.
Maybe
No
14
Keep?
Part 2: evaluating how to revise
Skill
Company
wants?
Good
example?
Keep?
Ability to learn & grow Maybe
No
Strong leader
Yes
Has potential
Yes
Strong quant. skills
Yes
Has potential
Yes
Adapt to new env.
Maybe
No
15
Part 2 revised
Quant. skills
Organization
My strong quantitative skills and ability to organize my time have
allowed me to earn top grades in all of my Finance and Accounting
classes. Outside the classroom, I have applied these skills as a
volunteer to help elderly and disadvantaged people prepareCrit.
their
tax
thinking
returns. Putting the real-world implications of class material to work
allowed me to better understand the concepts and to develop my ability
Leadership
to think on my feet.
My leadership skills began to develop when I was a camp counselor
People/team
and have grown while at Ross. Two years ago, as
Senior Counselor, I
helped eight 12-year-old girls bring their diverse personalities and
backgrounds together to form a cohesive unit. Not only did my girls win
the camp sports competition, they still keep in touch with me and each
other. As the first MAcc elected as president of the Finance Club at
Ross, I’ve continued to build my leadership skills. One of my first
executive projects was an outreach campaign to first-year preferred
admit students.
16
Part 3 sample
My excitement for this position is unrivaled. I truly believe
that I can make an immediate contribution as an intern and
I request that you strongly consider my application. Please
schedule an interview on your closed list between 8 am
and 11 am, as those are the times when I will be available
to meet. You may feel free to contact me by email if you
should have any questions in the mean time. I appreciate
your attention to this matter.
17
Part 3 revised
Please consider me for your closed interview schedule in
January, so we can discuss the fit between my experiences
and your needs more fully. Please contact me at 734-6691568 if you have any additional questions. Thank you for
your time and consideration.
18
Tips for writing a great letter
• Research and understand company needs (use their
language in writing your letter)
• Frontload key information (in the letter as a whole, in
paragraphs, and in sentences)
• Be polite and appropriately formal (not too informal,
not condescending, not too academic or stuffy)
• Be specific (avoid “I am impressed with your company,”
“I have many applicable skills,” “I believe I am the best
candidate,” and other things ANYONE could write)
• Proofread (look for typos, grammatical errors, long
sentences)
19
Best practices for emailed cover letters
• Keep it brief (one screen)
~ Take key elements from cover letter:
–
–
–
–
Connect with reader
State purpose
Give one short example of a key skill
Thank reader and ask for next step
• Attach the cover letter as part of the resume file
• Remember emails are easily forwarded –
consider secondary and tertiary audiences
20
Communication consultants
• Trained in the core concepts we teach in communication
• Most have real-world business experience
• Students who utilize the office give them an average
rating of 5/5
• What can they can help with?
~
~
~
Understanding task, defining purpose, and evaluating audience
Organizing and developing content
Grammar, punctuation, style, and general English usage
• Evening and phone appointments available
• Sign up at: http://www.bus.umich.edu/CounselingCalendar/WritingProgram/
21
Questions/work time
22
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