Cover letters are recommended, and in some instances required, for job applications. If you want to stand out from other candidates, you will want to write a unique cover letter for each position you apply to. Cover letters allow you to clarify, detail, and expand on your most relevant skills and competencies. In addition, a cover letter allows you to showcase your written communication skills.
It is important that you have a compelling cover letter. To write an impactful cover letter, you need to answer the following questions before you begin composing it. Starting with these questions will help provide a clear and concise message for the person reading your cover letter.
- Why are you interested in the position? Consider what makes the position, organization, or company interesting to you.
- What three skills or competencies do you possess that match the skills the employer is seeking in a candidate?
- You can find these skills by viewing the job description. These specific skills are the reason every cover letter should be unique for each job for which you apply.
For this discussion, you will explore the components of a cover letter, reflect on your most relevant skills, and assess what action steps you can take to make your cover letter stronger.
- The Cover Letters resource contains step-by step instructions for creating a cover letter including: formatting suggestions, tips regarding how to highlight your best skills and qualification and how to tailor your letter for specific job you wish to apply to.
- For more in-depth guidance for writing a cover letter, please watch the Creating a compelling cover letter pre-recorded (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. webinar (58 minutes).
In your initial post:
- First, identify a position on www.indeed.com (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., or an internal position in the military if applicable, that interests you as a potential job opportunity. Using the job description, identify three skills or qualifications that match your background and type them out.
- Next, using the format suggestions from both the webinar and cover letter sample, create a three- to four-sentence paragraph that communicates the three matching skills and/or competencies you would like to highlight for the employer. The goal is to tailor the body of your cover letter to the position you seek.
- Next, include a second paragraph that provides a three to four sentence summary of your Capstone paper. This is important, as it shows prospective employers that you are capable of an large-scale, independent research project.
- Paste the link of the job description you are interested in and the three- to four-sentence paragraph that you have written for this job application into the discussion forum so you can obtain feedback from your classmates. If this is an internal military listing to which you cannot provide an external link, simply describe the position. Do not cut and paste the listing, as many military listings are not intended for verbatim public consumption.
- Finally, respond to at least two of your peers by providing feedback on how their three key skills will help them to achieve their career goals. In addition, provide at least one suggestion for how they might emphasize their relevant skills.