Cashing In: How to Write a Stellar Cover Letter
Some people in the world today still don’t see how anyone outside of Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks can make a legitimate living as a writer. Well I am here to tell you, that it’s really hard. I found that out trying to work as a freelance writer. I was writing every single day and had quite a few followers and commenters, but I never saw any money above a few dollars. In a lot of cases writers have found that having a day job really helps. You see I love writing and if I could do it for a living I would, but a long time ago I got into the habit of eating and having a roof over my head so I had to find another way. One writing skill that is overlooked today is professional writing, specifically how to write a convincing and effective cover letter.
The humble cover letter, with these three tiny little paragraphs you can prove yourself to be a well-spoken and thoughtful worker with a knack for professionalism. The cover letter format is fairly straight forward and in fact is set up like many other professional letters. In the upper left-hand corner you place your contact information including your name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the date. Right below that you place the address of the company or business that you are applying to. If you know the name of the head of the human resources department use it, but if you don’t then use “To Whom to many Concern”.
First Paragraph- The Intention Section- The first part of the cover letter is what I like to call the “intention” section. For this part you are telling your potential employers what position you are applying for, in essence why you’re sending them a cover letter.
Second Paragraph- The Traits Section- In this section you need to outline the traits that you have that make you the most qualified for the position. You need to be sure that you tailor this section to suit the position. If the job you’re applying to requires you to be organized and detail oriented, be sure that the traits you write show that you have those abilities. This part of the letter will be the longest.
Third Paragraph- The Professional Sign-Off – This final section is basically a form letter. You basically say that you’ve attached copies of your resume for review and would be willing to come in for an interview. Finish it by thanking them for considering you for the position. Some people say to end it by saying “Sincerely, (insert your name)”, but I think that is a bit too informal. I like to end with just “Respectfully, (Insert your name)”. At the very bottom of the page you list all of the things that you are sending along with the cover letter such as a resume and letters of recommendation.
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Writer S. Cafe
656 Main Street
Writersville, TN 16638
(Insert email address here)
57455 South Main Street
Writersville, MD 54657
Dear Hiring Manager (Some still recommend putting “To Whom it May Concern” but most hiring managers I’ve dealt with say that phrase is a little too formal and old fashioned. Instead put either Dear the person’s name or ‘Dear Hiring Manager”).
After many years of interest in motorcycle mechanics, it has become my goal to enter into graduate school and receive my Master’s degree in motorcycles. It is my wish, thereby, to apply for an internship within your garage.
Throughout both my high school and college careers I have assisted in garages and have learned both the mechanical and business aspects of the trade. During this work my skills with both interpersonal communication and organization have demonstrated themselves as highly constructive traits.
For your convenience, I have attached a copy of my resume for further review. Should you wish to schedule a follow-up interview I would be more than willing to make myself available at the earliest convenience, and can be contacted by either the e-mail or telephone number provided above. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
(leave this space blank for your signature)
Writer S Café
Writing Exercise- The Anti-Exercise
I know this post was all about professional writing, but I can’t leave without giving you at least one writing exercise to get those creative juices flowing. Now for this exercise you need to think of someone you don’t agree with, maybe even someone you hate. What you need to do is to think of them and write a paragraph or two from their point of view. The trick is that you need to think from their mindsets and to not to be sarcastic or mocking about it. This exercise teaches you how to write characters who don’t think or act like you do which will help to keep your stories fresh and interesting.
I know this was a bit of a long post, but I hope you thought it was worth while. Feel free to comment or give me feedback. Bye for now!