“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
― Dr. Seuss
Following my first very own webinar on strategic career planning, I received few questions from my inquisitive fellow fellows. But due to some technological mishappenings, I did not have a chance to respond right away. So, as promised, I am responding here in my blog.
Q: What is the structure of cover letter?
A: Let’s start with the purpose of cover letter, as this will inform its structure. Cover letter is an additional (sometimes even viewed as non-essential) piece of information in a narrative form that highlights your strengths and shows your motivation in a concise and consistent manner. And, contrary to Dr.Seuss’s appeal above, you need to show that you both fit in AND stand out. Cover letter summarizes your skills relevant for a position [fit in] and highlights how far you have gone to get this job and what distinguishes you from the other applicants [stand out]. Very briefly, a cover letter structure could look like this:
- Introduction: why you are writing, how you have heard about the job;
- Why this job and this company: show your awareness and understanding of the industry, company and position;
- Why you are an ideal candidate: highlight you skills with specific examples;
- Show assertiveness and confidence with concluding with stating your readiness to meet for an interview
I personally find the Career Services sections of the websites of top universities to be a great resource. There, you will find some excellent examples of cover letters and writing guides (check Harvard, Oxford, LSE)
Questions, suggestions? Let’s discuss.