As the school year is coming to an end I have gotten several emails from new graduates asking for advice on how to present themselves to prospective employers. Presenting yourself correctly as a recent grad with minimal experience to prospective employers is crucial to attaining that first job. The big challenge is around the design of the cover letter.
The cover letter is an excellent opportunity to express interest in the company, its culture and philosophy and demonstrate the areas in which your early experience aligns with the company.
There are three areas in which a cover letter can be effective:
- Known job opening
- Prospecting – inquiring about possible opportunities
- Networking- asking for information and of assistance in your job search
The cover letter should be designed specifically for each type of situation with a personal touch. It is not in your best interest to have a form letter as a cover letter.
Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the company. Those areas might include: company culture, philosophy, environment, reputation, business model or industry. Also important is that you identify your most valuable skills and experiences that are relevant to the position and company value. A high level of interest and knowledge about the position will impress the company as it shows you did your research and you are truly interested in the becoming a part of the organization.
Recommended links for sample cover letters and tips:
How to Write a Cover Letter, The Wall Street Journal
How To Write A Cover Letter, Forbes
5 steps to a killer cover letter, CBSNews.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Ranostaj, CTS started her career as a recruiter for a small independent IT staffing firm in Houston in 2000 and joined Whitaker IT in early 2005 with recruiting experience primarily in ERP applications, business and custom applications working directly with high profile Fortune 500 companies. Linda is involved with the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC), Women in Energy Network – Committee Member 2011, Houston Oracle User Group- Board member 2010, Women In Technology International (WITI), Association of Women in Computing – Board Member 2005-2009, Houston .Net Users Group (HDNUG) – Sponsor 2008-2011, and Houston Java User’s Group (HJUG).