Developing a Strong Cover Letter by fionan


									   Lundquist College Career Services

   The Career Step Series

      Step 2:
    Resume and
    Cover Letter

                     Step 5 – Job Offers

                Step 4 – Interviewing

          Step 3 – The Job Search

     Step 2 – Resume / Cover Letter

Step 1 – Self Assessment
                      Resume Development
Purpose of Resume
•   Create a favorable first impression
•   Make a match between your qualifications and the needs of the employer
•   Display skills, talents, abilities, and experience

Characteristics of a Strong Resume
•  Organized and visually pleasing
•  Clear and concise in presenting your experience
•  Tailored to specific position, industry, and organization
•  Technically correct in grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Resume Writing Tips
•  Use specific action verbs (see the last 2 pages of this book)
•  Be consistent with past tense
•  Use concise phrases
•  Proofread!!                                  Most employers spend 20-30
                                                seconds scanning a resume in
                                               order to determine if it’s worth a
                                              second look. Make it easy for them
                                                to find what they’re looking for!

                      Writing effective bullet points

   Go beyond merely describing your “duties” – instead of listing tasks,
   focus on outcomes. Constantly ask yourself WHO, WHAT, WHEN,
   WHERE, WHY and HOW when writing about your experience.

   1)   Select one of the work experiences that will be included in your
   2)   Decide the skill words (action verbs) that best describe the
   3)   Identify the demonstrated outcomes of the activity
   4)   Get specific - who, what, when, why, where, and how

   Example: Task - “put the food supplies out for workers”
      Organized - what did you organize? For whom? Why? How?
      Organized employees’ food supplies...For what reason?
      Organized food supplies to increase access...When? How?
      Organized food supplies to increase access for busy
      employees during peak business hours.
                                                                          Use the same header
                             Resume Template                                 for your other
                                                                          application materials

                       Address • City, State Zip Code • Phone • Email

OBJECTIVE (Optional)
Should tell employer what kind of job you are looking for and highlight what you offer.
         • Product Marketing Analysis position in the consumer products industry that will
           utilize my research and problem solving skills

This section typically appears at the top of the resume as an introduction and makes
assertions about your abilities, qualities and achievements. Present only skills or
accomplishments that are relevant to your reader.
         • Strong analytical problem solving and market research skills
         • Demonstrated initiative and self motivation – financed 50% of education
         • Strong cross-cultural communication skills obtained through extensive international
           travel and study in Central America

EDUCATION (Required)
Simple presentation - Lead with degree, institution and include date of completion. If you
have more than one degree, list in reverse chronological order.
       Example:                                                      GPA is required for
       Bachelor of Science in Accounting, June 2009               Accounting and Finance
       Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon        positions. Otherwise, if it
       • GPA = 3.2                                                is above 3.0, it wouldn’t
                                                                      hurt to include it.
Should reflect strengths, accomplishments or achievements. Back up your assertions with
• Present most relevant information first
• All verb tenses should agree (past tense is the standard convention)
• Format sparingly for greatest impact
• Experience can include volunteer and co-curricular activities as well as paid jobs
• Communicate using current industry terms, but avoid jargon and opaque abbreviations
• Use percentages and number details to add magnitude: “Which resulted in a 30%
  membership increase,” or “Planned training program for 35 participants”
       Nordstrom, San Francisco CA (Summers 2009-10)
       Salesperson/Management Intern
       • Earned 2010 top sales associate award for customer service during summer sales season
       • Researched market trends for retail sales, presented findings to top management

List hobbies, interests, volunteer work, club membership, etc. to show diversity or another
skill area related to your career goal. This area may also include travel experience. Try to
avoid controversial topics.

Not generally included in a resume - no need for the phrase “available upon request”
                         Resume Example

                               JULIE SMITH
     125 Broadway Street • Eugene, OR 97403 • 541-555-5834 •

EDUCATION    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Expected June 2012
             University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
             Charles H. Lundquist College of Business
             Concentration in Finance, Minor in Economics
             Cumulative GPA: 3.6, Finance GPA: 3.85

COURSE       Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Economic Foundations of Competitive
HIGHLIGHTS   Analysis, Introduction to Business, Introduction to Psychology, Spanish
             (3 years)

EXPERIENCE    Resident Assistant, September 2009-Present
             University Housing-University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
             • Mentored, supported, and advised first-year college students which
               contributed to high retention rates
             • Arranged quarterly educational and social programs for more than 80
               students to build sense of community
             • Interpreted and enforced university policies and procedures

             Communications Volunteer, June-September 2010
             Boys and Girls Club, Eugene, OR
             • Maintained MS Access database of club participants’ visits and usage of
               the facilities
             • Coordinated media packets and proofread press releases
             • Assisted the Communications Director in her daily activities and on
             • Filed, answered phones and greeted visitors

             Cashier, July 2005-August 2009
             Albertsons, Eugene, OR
             • Handled cash in excess of $5,000 and reconciled receipts daily
             • Provided fast and friendly service enhancing customers’ shopping
             • Responded to customer concerns and directed questions as needed
             • Organized promotional displays for highlighted products on special

SKILLS       Fluent Spanish, Conversational French, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel,
             Access, PowerPoint), MS FrontPage

ACTIVITIES   • UO Investment Group-Member, September 2010-Present
             • Women in Business Club, September 2009-Present
             • Food for Lane County-Kitchen Assistant, January-July 2008

INTERESTS    Running, hiking, music, traveling, snowboarding
                              Resume Example

                                       Paul Chavez
                                       180 E. 24th Apt. 2
                                       Eugene, OR 97405


Product Marketing Analysis position in the consumer fitness products industry that will utilize
my research, analysis and communication skills


  • Strong analytical problem solving and market research skills
  • Excellent communication skills – writing, presenting, training


University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration                                  Expected March 2011
Sports Business and Entrepreneurship Concentrations
Spanish Minor

Portland Community College, Portland OR
Associate of Arts - Oregon Transfer                                                    June 2009


American Marketing Association, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
New Member Committee Chair                                              May 2009-May 2010
  • Identified marketing venues to attract new members, resulting in a 5% membership
  • Collaborated with committee members to plan and implement welcoming programs for
    new members resulting in greater participation of new members on committees
  • Developed marketing plan for future membership drives

JCPenney, Portland, OR
Marketing Intern/Sales Associate                                 December 2008-August 2009
  • Researched market trends for retail sales, presented findings to top management
  • Communicated closely with managers, staff, and customers to ensure tasks were
    completed and customer satisfaction goals were met
  • Assisted manager with scheduling and payroll tasks
  • Earned top sales associate award for exceptional customer service during summer sales
    season, 2009


Running, soccer, softball, other team sports, Latin culture and literature
             Developing a Strong Cover Letter
Purpose of cover letter
•   Accompanies your resume to identify your reason for writing the employer
•   Makes a match between your previous activities, skills and experiences with
    the job and organization

Characteristics of a strong cover letter
•  Targeted to specific employer and job
•  Organized and visually pleasing
•  Clear and concise in articulating skills and interests
•  Key points are structured within focused paragraphs
•  Introduction and conclusion sentences are effective in transitioning between
   ideas and between paragraphs
•  Use active and positive tone: Instead of would or could, use will or can
   - Bad: I would appreciate the chance for an interview
   - Good: I look forward to meeting with you...”

Use specific examples to illustrate your skills
•   Establish a SITUATION.
    “We were short staffed and had a three month backlog in filling orders.”
•   Describe the ACTION you took.
    “I developed a spreadsheet that helped us track order dates and parts
•   Reveal the RESULTS of your efforts.
    “Within 20 days the backlog was eliminated.”

           How do I know what skills an employer is looking for?

      Conduct informational interviews with the organization, other
      companies in that industry, and/or people in that career (see “Step 3:
      Job Search” booklet).
      Scrutinize the job description for key words and incorporate them into
      your application materials.
      Each year we look for enthusiastic individuals to help us produce and
      market Rose Festival events. We're looking for people who are interested in
      gaining valuable learning experiences in a fast-paced environment.
      • Manage the implementation of float sponsor benefits
      • Manage effective communication between sponsors and event managers
      • Assist with coordination of sponsor hospitality functions
      • Provide on-site marketing support at Rose Festival events
      • Aid in strategic marketing planning for the 2009 Rose Festival
      Cover Letter Content Brainstorm Worksheet
 Step 1
 Identify 2-3 skills or characteristics the position requires (see “Step 1: Self
 Assessment” booklet to identify your own skills and characteristics)




 Step 2
 Elaborate possible cover letter “body” paragraphs

 Theme 1:
     Brainstorm supporting points, e.g. your experience & background:





Draft introductory sentence:

Draft conclusion sentence (impact on employer):

 Repeat step two for 3 themes total.
                         Cover Letter Template
   Use the same header
                              Street Address • City, State Zip
     as your resume
                                  Phone # • Email address

                                                                 ½” margins minimum –
Date                                                                 preferably 1”
Contact name
Title                        Try to find a name. If desperate,
Company name                  use “Dear Hiring Manager,” or
Address                         “Dear Search Committee”
City, State Zip
Dear Mr. or Ms. Last Name:
Introductory Paragraph:
•    Specify why you are writing
•    Identify the individual(s) who referred you
•    Note a previous point of contact, if applicable
•    Provide an overview of your letter
 “I am writing to apply for the position as advertised in...I believe my
(theme 1) and (theme 2) make me a strong candidate for your position.”
Body Paragraphs:
•    Elaborate on your strengths as they relate to needs of the employer
•    Provide specific examples demonstrating your knowledge and experience
•    Close paragraph with conclusion sentence focused on how skill will impact
My previous work experience has allowed me to develop my communications and
customer service skills. During the past two summers I conducted marketing research for
InvoTech, a company specializing in computer games. I surveyed over 50 retailers
regarding their customers’ online purchasing activity and analyzed the data for patterns
and preferences. Now I am looking to utilize this experience by helping your company
improve communication with retailers and assisting them with evaluating e-commerce
possibilities for computer-based entertainment.
Conclusion Paragraph:
•    Reiterate your interest in the position with the organization
•    Identify next steps
 “I am extremely excited about the position of ___with ___ company and look forward to
beginning the interview process.
Proactive: “I will contact you the week of ___ to discuss my application and to learn
about your recruiting procedures.” -or-
Reactive: “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

                                                          Use a font that is easy to read
                                                        (Times or Arial) 10-12 point size
Typed name below                                          for body and 14-18 for name
                          Cover Letter Example

                                    JULIE SMITH
       125 Broadway Street • Eugene, OR 97403 • 541-555-5834 •

November 17, 2009

Ms. Lauren Leichtman
                                                        Request for an
Founding Principal                                 Informational Interview
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners
335 N Maple Drive, Suite 240
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Dear Ms. Leichtman:

At a recent alumni event, I had the great pleasure of talking to Mr. Jeff Phillips, Financial
Analyst, from your office. During our conversation, he mentioned that several analysts had
backgrounds similar to mine and he strongly encouraged me to contact you to learn more about
the field of financial analysis. I am completing my Bachelors Degree in Business
Administration with a concentration in Finance and minor in Economics at the University of
Oregon in June 2010.

In addition to my business education, I have been a part of the University of Oregon
Investment Group (UOIG) for over one year. The UOIG is a student club in which we invest
more than $750,000 real dollars. During the 2007-08 academic year, we had a higher rate of
return (29.35%) than any of the 19 other schools we competed against to win a D.A. Davidson
& Co. sponsored competition. I really enjoyed the process of immersing myself in the finances
of a particular company and industry and determining whether or not we should invest in it.
This experience has made it clear to me that I have a strong interest and aptitude for financial
analysis and I’m hoping that you can help me get a better sense of what it is like to work in this

If you are able to talk with me for 30-45 minutes, I hope to learn about your experiences and
career path. In particular, I am interested in your experience as a businesswoman in a field that
is highly male dominated and how you started your own firm. I would also appreciate the
opportunity to hear your insight about how my education and work experience could be a good
fit with the position of financial analyst and advice about positioning myself to be a strong
candidate for future employers.

I will call you the week of November 28 to arrange a time for us to meet. I look forward to
talking with you soon.


Julie Smith
Julie Smith
                       Cover Letter Example

                                  Joan Oakley
                7 Apple Court • Eugene, OR 97401 • 503-555-0303 •

July 6, 2009

Mr. Archie Weatherby
California Investments, Inc.                  Job Search - Unsolicited
25 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Mr. Weatherby,

My outgoing personality, my sales experience, and my recently completed education
make me a strong candidate for a position as an insurance broker for California
Investments, Inc.

I recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Business
Administration and an emphasis in Marketing. Although a recent graduate, I am not
a typical new graduate. I attended school in Michigan, Arizona, and Oregon, and
have put myself through these schools by working such jobs as radio advertising
sales, newspaper subscription sales, and bartending, all of which enhanced my
formal education. In addition, I was president of both Alpha Kappa Psi and the
American Marketing Association, which helped me develop my leadership and
organizational skills.

I have the maturity, skills, and abilities to embark on a career in insurance brokering,
and I would like to do this in California, my home state.

I will be in California at the end of this month, and I would like very much to talk
with you concerning a position at California Investments, Inc. I will follow up this
letter with a phone call to see if I can arrange a time to meet with you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
                                                   Use this format when sending
Sincerely,                                           a hard-copy letter. When
                                                   emailing, you can either send
                                                       your cover letter as an
Joan Oakley                                        attachment, or as the body of
                                                    your email. If you send it in
Joan Oakley                                        the body, you do not need the
                                                  formal letter heading at the top
               Action Verb List for Resume
ACHIEVEMENT      Perceived       Recorded      Visualized
Advanced         Ranked          Responded
Assured          Read            Spoke         NEGOTIATION
Bolstered        Reasoned        Wrote         Advised
Eliminated       Related                       Advocated
Encourage        Researched      CREATION &    Arbitrated
Enhanced         Reviewed        DEVELOPMENT   Bargained
Expanded         Screened        Acted         Expedited
Facilitated      Scanned         Adapted       Facilitated
Fostered         Solved          Authored      Lobbied
Generated        Studied         Bolstered     Mediated
Guaranteed       Summarized      Built         Merged
Identified       Surveyed        Charged       Motivated
Improved         Synthesized     Clarified     Negotiated
Increased        Verified        Composed      Persuaded
Inspired         Visualized      Conceived     Promoted
Mastered                         Corrected     Reconciled
Maximized        ASSISTANCE      Created       Solved
Motivated        Advised         Designed
Obtained         Assisted        Developed     OPERATIONS
Overcame         Bolstered       Devised       Adjusted
Promoted         Collaborated    Discovered    Adapted
Reduced          Contributed     Drafted       Bolstered
Restored         Consulted       Eliminated    Clarified
Stimulated       Cooperated      Established   Corrected
Strengthened     Enlisted        Expanded      Eliminated
Upgraded         Facilitated     Expedited     Expedited
                 Fostered        Initiated     Facilitated
ANALYSIS &       Helped          Innovated     Fixed
PROBLEM          Participated    Instituted    Implemented
SOLVING          Referred        Integrated    Installed
Abstracted       Served          Introduced    Performed
Analyzed         Strengthened    Invented      Prepared
Appraised        Supported       Launched      Prioritized
Briefed          Sustained       Modified      Produced
Clarified                        Originated    Programmed
Compared         COMMUNICATION   Perceived     Promoted
Computed         Addressed       Performed     Ran
Correlated       Advertised      Planned       Reduced
Critiqued        Answered        Prioritized   Repaired
Debated          Briefed         Produced      Serviced
Defined          Communicated    Promoted      Set
Determined       Corresponded    Proposed      Transported
Diagnosed        Debated         Recommended   Upheld
Dissected        Explained       Reduced       Used
Evaluated        Expressed       Restored      Utilized
Examined         Facilitated     Refined
Identified       Interpreted     Revamped      ORGANIZATION
Interviewed      Interviewed     Set           Accumulated
Investigated     Lectured        Shaped        Arranged
Judged           Listened        Simplified    Assembled
Maintained       Narrated        Solved        Built
Mapped           Prepared        Styled        Catalogued
Monitored        Presented       Streamlined   Clarified
Observed         Publicized      Substituted   Classified
Coordinated       Helped             Dispatched           Briefed
Correlated        Improved           Distributed          Cared
Detailed          Led                Educated             Charged
Developed         Maintained         Encouraged           Clarified
Facilitated       Motivated          Enforced             Coached
Filed             Negotiated         Evaluated            Comforted
Gathered          Persuaded          Executed             Communicated
Graphed           Promoted           Exercised            Conducted
Identified        Purchased          Expedited            Coordinated
Inspected         Raised             Facilitated          Demonstrated
Located           Recommended        Fired                Educated
Maintained        Recruited          Followed (through)   Empathized
Mapped                               Hired                Enabled
Met (deadlines)   SERVICE            Implemented          Encouraged
Methodized        Attended           Instructed           Enlightened
Obtained          Cared              Led                  Guided
Organized         Catered            Maintained           Helped
Planned           Delivered          Met (deadlines)      Implemented
Prioritized       Entertained        Monitored            Improved
Processed         Facilitated        Motivated            Influenced
Programmed        Listened           Organized            Informed
Reorganized       Maintained         Oversaw              Inspired
Reproduced        Prepared           Planned              Interpreted
Retrieved         Procured           Prepared             Investigated
Revamped          Provided           Regulated            Observed
Revised           Satisfied          Reinforced           Perceived
Scheduled         Served             Responded            Persuaded
Set               Supplied           Retained             Restored
Simplified                           Reviewed             Saved
Solved            SUPERVISION &      Scheduled            Shared
Streamlined       MANAGEMENT         Set                  Solved
Structured        Administered       Supervised           Spoke
Synthesized       Allocated          Taught               Stimulated
Systemized        Approved           Trained              Strengthened
Updated           Arranged                                Substituted
                  Assigned           TEACHING &           Supported
PERSUASION        Authorized         COUNSELING           Sustained
Aided             Bolstered          Adapted              Taught
Advertised        Coached            Advised              Trained
Auctioned         Conducted          Advocated            Validated
Bolstered         Decided            Aided
Enlisted          Delegated          Assessed
Facilitated       Directed           Bolstered

                        For Additional Assistance:
                             Career Services
                                Lillis 240
                      Lundquist College of Business
                           University of Oregon

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