Post # 1
Any HR bees out there? I’m getting set to put together the annual package for summer internships, and there’s one in particular I especially want.
My question is geared towards the cover letter. What are you looking for when you see it? I find it to be more of an irritant than anything else, but I do not want that to come across in my words. Plus, I want an honest answer as to whether you spend a lot of time analyzing what it says, or whether you read it at all? What sets a prospect ahead of the pack in your opinion? Tips appreciated!
Post # 3
Drat! Accidentally posted in the grooms section! Why?????!!! Mod, if you could be so kind as to relocate, I would be less embarassed. 🙂
Post # 4
Nothing? Are my posts diseased?
Post # 5
I’m not HR, but I’m on the job hunt as I finish a grad degree and have talked to a lot of HR people for advice lately. YES, cover letters get read. Try to think of it as your chance to make an impression, hopefully a good one. Sure, writing cover letters for stuff you aren’t excited about is a drag, but if there’s an internship you really want, make that come across. And not just that you want it, but help them understand what you can bring to that internship, and include anything that’s important but doesn’t fit in your resume.
Hope that helps!
Post # 6
I’m not in HR but when I was applying for jobs out of school, I used the cover letter as a forum to sort of link the information in my resume to the specific job I was applying to. I would pick out a couple of things that I thought were particularly relevant and briefly explain why those skills or experiences made me a good candidate for the job at hand.
I’m still not sure if this is the best strategy but I just wanted to share how I tried to use the cover letter to my advantage!
Post # 7
Thanks ladies. I have linked up skills vs. job description, it’s just that I don’t want my letter to be BORING, and I don’t often discuss my personal capabilities with people, so I am nervous that it’s going to be self serving and pushy. I just want to give myself an edge by making it interesting, and not a run-of-the-mill type of letter. Any suggestions on how to differentiate myself would be amazing. AND thank you for responding. Maybe I’m not a “popular bee”
Post # 8
@StuporDuck: haha dang for not being “popular” . lol
I FLIPPIN HATE COVERLETTERS! okay vent over.
Well I wish I new how to write a special edgey one but my fears are that part of the deal is following directions and doing the same old same old, so if I did something whack maybe they would frown upon. Then again it depends on the company-maybe they are known for creativity or the position calls for creativity?
If there are specific questions they want answered then give the sweetest answers youve got. If its just attach a cover letter, then I think it would be great to set yourself apart with something different. Maybe add a little humor? share a personal story that relates to the job? Use special typography?
Post # 9
I think one big tip is to not just rewrite your resume in paragraph form for your cover letter. Cover letters definitely get read, and I know that a bad cover letter can make a recruiter hestitant to read a resume.
Another key is to be really specific about the particular job/company. HR and hiring people can sniff a generic letter, one that gets sent to every single company an applicant is applying to, a mile away. I’m not in HR, but I’ve worked with resuming a lot from both mentoring in resume writing as well as helping to review resumes from the business side. It’s really obvious when you get a “form” cover letter — try to be as specific as possible.
One thing that companies love to see in resumes is that you’ve done your homework, and you actually know something about the company. Do a little bit of research, both in the company website and around the web. Have there been any news stories on the company lately? Is there any way to work that information in along with your skills to make it clear that you’re really interested?
You said you aren’t super comfortable promoting yourself — use that to your advantage. Don’t just talk about how great you are. Talk about what you can do for the company and how your skills will help their business. Instead of thinking about the letter being just about you, remember that it’s very much about the company, too. Pull verbiage from the job posting and work it in to get some good keyword strength going.
Post # 10
@Gemstone: Thanks for your input! It helps to remember what makes a “bad” cover letter, and to steer clear of anything that even smells like one.
I’m a non-traditional student, so it’s not like I’ve never done this before in my previous career, but the cover letter has always seemed to be my nemesis. I dislike having to do one every summer. I’d rather just be working again, but alas, I chose to go back to school.
Post # 11
@StuporDuck: Oh, you’re right! I don’t think anyone likes the cover letter. 🙁