The 600-Second Cover Letter That Is Better Than Your Boss'


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After posting an open internship at my organisation, we received about one hundred different resumes from students all around the New York City area. Accompanied with the majority of these documents was, of course, a cover letter.However, about 9 out of 10 of the cover letters sent by college students to our agency, with minimal work, could have been drastically improved and could have significantly raised their odds of being called by one of the executives at our firm.

As a young job seeker, how do you take advantage of the lack of effort that other students put into their cover letters and get into the company you want whether it be for an internship or your first job?

Here are 4 simple ways how. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most worthwhile 10 minutes you will even spend in college.

Take the Time to customise Your Cover Letter

You think that this would be a no-brainer, but it is not. It is quite obvious to an employer if your cover letter says nothing about the company, what they do or whom you’re actually writing it to. It is accepted fact for employers that you are likely not applying to only one job or internship. It ought to be an equally accepted fact for you as a prospective intern or employee that you put effort into learning about any company where you want to work and learn.

Before you sit down to formulate the document, make sure that you do a significant amount of research on the firm. It’s not about you being a hard worker or claiming that you are punctual, it’s about what you can do for the employer.

For example, if you want to intern in the fashion/garment industry:

“I have read over your website, and about your executive team. After doing so, I’m interested in learning more about the fashion industry from your company’s perspective; about what your firm does on a day to day basis; and whether you feel I would be able to learn about the garment business to an extent that would garner you giving me a chance.

Hard work comes naturally to me, especially when it comes to things that I am passionate about – style, clothing and, from what I know, the garment manufacturing process as a whole.”

Short Paragraphs and an Easy-to-Read Font 

80% of the cover letters I receive are nearly impossible to read and have very long, drawn-out sentences that result in paragraphs that mirror the length of War and Peace. In a cover letter, as in a professional email, stick to clear, concise sentences.

Professionals don’t have time to put on reading glasses every time they receive a cover letter. At least, those professionals who receive enough resumes for competitive jobs certainly do not. Writing paragraphs that are more than three sentences will likely direct your resume and cover letter right into the trash folder.

As a rule, begin using a font like Sans Serif, Arial or Verdana and stop a paragraph after three sentences. Writing a cover letter is not a formal government exam, you can switch your font and structure around – but keep it simplistic and easy to read.

The above customisation aside, the simple act of making the document readable, will put you ahead of 70% of the candidates.

Always remember, when writing a cover letter, make it as easy as possible for the recipient to read what you have taken the time to write.

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