Cover Letter

Find an ad for a job you’d like to get after you graduate. The ad may come from a newspaper, an internal company posting, or an on-line data base or website. An email from a company describing what they’re looking for would qualify also. Make sure the ad has at least as much depth as the example immediately below. In other words, make sure it describes what the employer is looking for in detail.

Electronics/Robotics Maintenance person – troubleshoot and maintain all equipment in a state-of-the-art assembly plant. Must learn quickly, be dependable, and work well under pressure. Experience and/or degree in electronics/robotics required. Pay commensurate with experience. Send resume to: Diane Carr, Human Resources, Advance Systems, 83 Wright Rd., Janesville, WI 53547

Write a cover letter modeled on the example. The example is in block style, which you will use for this assignment (and which you should use for all your business letters).  Make sure the key words from the ad appear in your letter. Highlight three things in the ad that you will include in the cover letter and submit the ad with the letter.

Everything contained in this assignment must be real and true, with one exception—you may pretend that you are done with your current degree program. Everything on the cover letter must be true, and the references must be real.

There are many effective ways to write a cover letter. In this lesson, we will practice one basic approach. Expectations about cover letters differ among professions, so when you start applying for jobs, ask experts (three or more if possible) in your field to look over your cover letter and suggest changes. If your experts’ suggestions contradict something in this lesson, trust the experts.

Focus on how you can help them with what they do, not on what you want from the employer.

Keep it short–the people who read your letter are probably very busy. They will interpret your conciseness as an ability to work efficiently. Limit the letter to four paragraphs and a single page.

Like the resume, this is a brief advertisement, but you want to expand on your resume—explain a bit more about the skill and experience you listed in the resume.

Use this four-paragraph formula:

  1. express interest in the position and state that you’re applying
  2. explain specific qualifications (qualifications that apply only to this job or type of job)
  3. explain general qualifications (qualifications that any employer would want in any position, “work well with others,” for example.)
  4. say thank you – promise to follow up (unless ad instructs otherwise) Use the same header you used for your resume to create visual consistency.

Using the example as a template, build your cover letter.  Submit the job ad and the cover letter to Blackboard as a single PDF document.

Grading criteria:
Sentence flow
Tailored to ad
Overall Persuasiveness