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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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          Last Updated on November 5, 2020

          Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

          Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

          Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

          Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can, too.

          Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll also look at how to overcome fear of failure so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

          What Is Fear of Failure?

          If you are afraid of failure, it will cause you to avoid potentially harmful situations.

          Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

          What causes a fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failing exists:

          Patterns From Childhood

          Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules. This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.

          Perfectionism

          Perfectionism is often at the root of a fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.

          Over-Personalization

          The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]

          False Self-Confidence

          People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

          How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

          Unhealthy Organization Culture

          Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

          Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable messes onto someone else. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

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          Miss out on Valuable Opportunities

          If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago.

          They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

          Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

          Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

          High Achievers Become Losers

          Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes turns it into a problem. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure that it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major obstacle.

          Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

          Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so they have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

          The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect yourself, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything, and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

          If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

          Loss of Creativity

          Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

          Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant, when you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the most creative solution.

          The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity, too.

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          Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

          We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work, and in life.

          How to Overcome Fear of Failure (Step-by-Step)

          1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

          Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

          Write down where you think the fear comes from, and try to understand it as an outsider.

          If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

          Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

          2. Reframe Beliefs About Your Goal

          Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

          If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

          At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

          3. Learn to Think Positive

          In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

          Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

          Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

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          Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

          If Disney and Jobs had believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

          It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers[9]. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

          How To Be A Positive Thinker: Positivity Exercises, Affirmations, & Quotes

            4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

            Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

            Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

            5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

            There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

            It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.

            For example, when you start a new business, it’s bound to be a learning experience. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

            6. Have a Backup Plan

            It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

            “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

            Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

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            Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

            There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

            7. Learn From Whatever Happens

            Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

            “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

            Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

            For more tips on how to overcome fear of failure, check out the video below:

            Final Thoughts

            To overcome fear of failure, we can start by figuring out where it comes from and reframing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

            Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

            “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

            Failures can be blessings in disguise. Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and long-term goals.

            More Tips for Conquering Fear

            Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

            Reference

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