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A Sentence by Sentence Formula for Writing Great Cover Letters

A Sentence by Sentence Formula for Writing Great Cover Letters

Writing a cover letter is a big deal – and it takes some time. But who has time when your bills are stacking up and there are 10 other jobs you want to apply for today?

Don’t skimp on your cover letters though – each one should be unique to the specific job for which you are applying and this means you’ll end up spending AT LEAST half an hour on each one.

To help you boost your job application productivity, I’ve created this sentence-by-sentence guide  to help you write a flawless cover letter every time:

The Intro:

cover letter intro

    After you’ve properly typed and spaced your address, the date and the recipient’s address, follow these steps to create a solid introduction for your cover letter.

    1. State the job listing you are responding to

    If you found the job posting online, list the website. If you found it in a newspaper, say what newspaper.

    Example: I’m writing in response to your job posting on Monster.com.

    2. State the position you want to be considered for and acknowledge the company’s name

    Example: I would like to be considered for the Jr. Web Designer position at CompanyABC.

    Alternative: I’m very interested in a career with CompanyABC and I would like to be considered for the Jr. Web Designer position.

    3. Mention your Alma mater or current employer

    Example: I recently graduated from University XYZ.

    Alternative: I am currently employed at CompanyXYZ.

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    4. Quickly state two skills that show you are qualified for the position

    Example: I believe my skills with HTML5 and responsive design make me an excellent candidate for this position.

    5. Express your desire to be considered for the position

    Example: I hope you will find that my work experience, along with my education, qualifies me for this position.

    Alternative: I hope you will consider my web design skills as proof that I am a suitable candidate for this position.

    *When you’ve reached this point, leave a row of white space and begin a new paragraph (without indents!).

    The First Body Paragraph:

    cover letter

      1. Elaborate on one skill or employment position that shows you’re qualified for the job

      Example: During my time at UniversityXYZ, I held a six month internship where I was an assistant designer for the university website.

      2. State what you learned, how you overcame challenges, etc.

      Example: This internship gave me hands-on experience coding in HTML5 and CSS3.

      3. Elaborate on more skills you learned

      Example: I also managed the redesign project of the university’s blog and created fresh graphics for the university’s social media pages.

      4. Relate the skills you’ve discussed to the requirements listed in the job position

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      Example: These experiences have not only helped me hone my coding skills, but they’ve also taught me the importance of teamwork and the value of constructive criticism.

      5. Include a transition to set up the second body paragraph

      Example: I believe that my internship experience, in addition to my educational achievements, would make me a valuable member of your design team.

      The Second Body Paragraph:

      body paragraph 2

        1. Introduce a new skill set, educational acheivement or a past job that qualifies you for the position

        Example: I graduated summa cum laude from UniversityXYZ with my B.A. in Web Design and a minor in Business Management.

        2. State what you learned or what challenges you overcame

        Example: While earning my degree, I learned how to create websites, design graphics and solve website coding errors.

        3. Elaborate on additional skills

        Example: I also tutored undergraduate students who were having trouble in their Web Design classes and participated in the Student Activities Board.

        4. Relate these skills to the job posting (similar to Step 4 in the first body paragraph)

        Example: My educational experience not only taught me the professional skills I need to be a web designer, but also how to effectively manage my time and troubleshoot programming issues.

        The Conclusion:

        cover letter conclusion

          1. Draw attention to your resume (which should be sent at the same time)

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          Example: In my attached resume, I’ve provided additional information about my professional skills and qualifications.

          2. Clearly state your willingness to come in for an interview and include the position and company name one more time

          Example: I would be happy to discuss my employment as a Jr. Web Designer with CompanyABC with you at a time and place of your convenience.

          3. Provide your contact info and your rough schedule

          Example: You can reach me at 123-456-7890 anytime after 3 p.m. during the week, or you may email me at personABC@email.com.

           

          *Leave a row of white space, and provide one final conclusion such as “Thank you for your consideration.”

          Then type and sign your name and you’re cover letter is complete!

           

          Here is – roughly – what your finished cover letter should sound like. Use conjunctions like “and” to combine shorter sentences when necessary, and make sure you don’t repeat yourself too many times:

           

          Hi name,

           

          I’m writing in response to your job posting on Monster.com. Please consider me for the Jr. Web Designer position at CompanyABC. I recently graduated from University XYZ. I believe my skills with HTML5 and responsive design make me an excellent candidate for this position.I hope you will find that my work experience, along with my education, qualifies me for this position.

           

          During my time at UniversityXYZ, I held a six month internship where I was an assistant designer for the university website.This internship gave me hands-on experience coding in HTML5 and CSS3. I also managed the redesign project of the university’s blog and created fresh graphics for the university’s social media pages. These experiences have not only helped me hone my coding skills, but they’ve also taught me the importance of teamwork and the value of constructive criticism. I believe that my internship experience, in addition to my educational achievements, would make me a valuable member of your design team.

           

          I graduated summa cum laude from UniversityXYZ with my B.A. in Web Design and a minor in Business Management.While earning my degree, I learned how to create websites, design graphics and solve website coding errors. I also tutored undergraduate students who were having trouble in their Web Design classes and participated in the Student Activities Board. My educational experience not only taught me the professional skills I need to be a web designer, but also how to effectively manage my time and troubleshoot programming issues.

           

          In my attached resume, I’ve provided additional information about my professional skills and qualifications. I would be happy to discuss my employment as a Jr. Web Designer with CompanyABC with you at a time and place of your convenience. You can reach me at 123-456-7890 anytime after 3 p.m. during the week, or you may email me at personABC@email.com.

           

          Thank you for your consideration of my resume.

           

          Sincerely,

          Your Name

          Featured photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo via join.deathtothestockphoto.com

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          Kayla Matthews

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

          If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

          Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

          But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

          Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

          If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

          1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

          For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

          Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

          If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

          But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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          So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

          Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

          In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

          2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

          Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

          Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

          Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

          Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

          For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

          Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

          Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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          For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

          Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

          Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

          Bonus:

          If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

          3. Take meaningful time for yourself

          We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

          Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

          If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

          Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

          This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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          No time for me-time? Try this:

          If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

          This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

          Bonus:

          Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

          4. Get productive and feel accomplished

          Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

          When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

          While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

          Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

          No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

          So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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          Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

          This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

          Try this:

          Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

          The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

          Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

          The bottom line

          There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

          The only question is — which tip will you try first?

          Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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