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7 Quick Cover Letter Tips

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In an article on The Muse, 31 need to know cover letter tips are revealed. We’ve chosen 7 unique tips we think are the most essential for an optimal resume.

This is a cover letter, not a resume

As you may have learned from reading some of our resume advice, a resume needs to be a one-page, to the point document that includes bullet pointed fragments demonstrating your most impressive accomplishments at a job. It’s pretty limiting. That’s where the cover letter steps in. The cover letter is not for you to simply regurgitate what you’ve already written on your resume, but offers the use complete sentences that fully encapsulate the specific details of your accomplishments that were restricted on your resume.

Don’t be self-centered

In essence, the cover letter is not about you, it’s about what you can do and how that will benefit the company. Nobody cares how awesome you are on your own; they care about how awesome you would be working for them. Do this by demonstrating what you’re capable of and how that correlates to the job description and expected delivery.

Story time

In our blog post How To Make Your Cover Letter Memorable, we explain how sharing a story instead of iterating the same old same old can make your cover letter stand out. What ties do you have the company? Have you been ogling over Chanel ever since you first spotted that metallic blue wallet with an embroidered bow way back in your middle school days? Is Vogue your bible? Sharing a unique and individual story makes your cover letter remembered instead of trashed. Caution: keep it concise. It’s still a cover letter, not your autobiography.

Crunch some numbers

You know how people say actions speak louder than words? Scratch that – numbers speak the loudest! Quantifying your success makes your achievements easily digestible to the eye of the reader. If you’re a social media intern, include the amount of followers you’ve acquired since you started. If you’re an editorial intern, include how many articles you’ve written and the size of the audience it reached. Almost every quality has a quantity.

“Title”

Ever think of giving your cover letter a headline? Sounds weird, right? This isn’t an English essay… But it turns out this formatting idea is an excellent way to catch an interviewer’s eye and encapsulate the key message of your letter.

Get to it already!

Short. Sweet. And to the point. Keep your cover letter to half a page, max. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes; would you really like to read tens of full page letters? Ensure your’s is fully read by embracing brevity.

No name

Please don’t start your cover letter with “My name is __, and…” Don’t.. Just don’t… Your name is on your resume, remember? Get down to business and land the job.


 

Think these tips were helpful? View the entire article here!

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The Importance of a Cover Letter

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The cover letter is a massive beast that makes heads swirl with rage upon the instance to construct a one page document that basically reiterates what a resume already says. It’s a pointless effort that serves no purpose besides seizing a couple hours of your precious time to result in a trashcan demise, right? That’s what you may think, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong.

A recent article on Linkedin written by a tenacious employer, Lauren Nelson, who is the Vice President Principal Consultant at Aesthetic Cogency, ferociously states: “If your cover letter is nonexistent or a hot mess, I’m not sure I believe a word of your resume.” Harsh…

Nelson explains her blunt statement quite explicitly. Here’s a spunky FFI take of what she has to preach:

Play connect the dots

A cover letter is a mature transformation of our favorite childhood past time, connect the dots. Connect any relevant experience you have and skills to what is listed in the job description. This shows that, not only are you qualified, but you also understand the lowdown of what the position will entail.

Communication*

Communication is key. That’s been drilled into our heads. Not including a cover letter immediately communicates to the employer that your skills are poor and, in Nelson’s words, “not going to do well anywhere.”

Lazy bones…

So you’ve caved and included a cover letter. But a cover letter is not universal. It is essential that you cater the document to the position you’re applying for. If you don’t, it shows that you’re careless and lazy.

Including a well put together cover letter can be the difference between an immediate interview and being placed at the bottom of a massive pile of resumes. It can also make up for limited experience and forgive resume errors.

Have strong feelings for or against the concept of a cover letter? Comment below!

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How To Get Your “In” in the Exclusive Fashion Industry

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Since every wee fashionista blossoms from tomboy skater shoes to an entry-level designer purse, a penchant for an iconic, innovative brand develops. From Coco Chanel desktop screensavers to dreams of dressing top to bottom in Michael Kors’ “MK” logo, the thought of working in the luxury fashion industry is a euphoric dream we eat, sleep, and breathe in order to succeed. But entry into the fashion industry is as exclusive and selective as admittance into the club of Birkin owners. It requires connections. A friend. An “in.” Thankfully, Free Fashion Internships is all of these!

For less than Sunday brunch of omelettes and OJ at Le Pain Quotidien, Tom Ford, Gucci, YSL, and all of your favorite fashion giants can get to know about YOU! When can submit your resume to be a part of our Fall/Winter 2014 Intern Lookbook, we will distribute your resume to our massive list of contacts at the fashion industry’s top companies. At $19.99, getting your ‘in” into this competitive, cut-throat industry is easier than pulling off a messy bun on a crisp Fall day.

Get ready to be “sup-ing” Vera and chilling D&G style.

Submit your application by Sunday, September 28th at midnight EST.

Click to Apply!

 

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The Perfect Cover Letter Formula

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A cover letter may be one of the most complicated documents you’ll ever construct. The premise seems simple: introduce yourself to the employer. The catch is standing out in the slew of introductions growing taller and taller every day. From the battle between sounding personable and professional to the ideal construction, if only there was a formula as simple as one, two, three… But, there is! Well, maybe not an exact formula, since every cover letter should be as individual as its author, but there are three components that formulate the perfect cover letter.

Be you!

From the beginning, the way to catch an employer’s attention is to let your personality shine through black and white, Times New Roman font. No matter how many advice columns instruct you to start a cover letter by saying something along the lines of  “My name is Slater Katz, and I am a rising junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology,” it’s monotonous, unoriginal, and says nothing about whom Slater Katz (me) is.

Taking my own advice, here is how I spruced up my editorial cover letter introduction to show my personality:

Words have meaning. Whether it is imparting wisdom on peers retrieved from personal experiences or reporting the hard-hitting news of the moment; the right formula of adjectives can transform an anecdote into an article.

More interesting, right? Using a writing style that reflects your personality is how you sell yourself as an individual. But remember to keep the language professional. Confused? Here is our post on how to make your cover letter passionate and professional.

Employers are selfish

So you’re an Excel mastermind. Good for you… It’s not valuable for an employer to read about what your talents are unless you describe how your skills will  benefit them. They’re very selfish beings. Ask yourself how your superpowers will add value that what they do on a daily basis. A way to do this is to relate your skills back to the job description or reiterating previous accomplishments to these skills.

End with a bang!

A wise man once told me every piece of communication should be closed with “I appreciate your time and look forward to being in contact.” No “I hope to hear from you soon” nonsense. Saying you “look forward to being in contact” implies that you may be the one to initiate contact, taking the ball into your court. If you’re feeling confident (which you should,) end your cover letter with an additional sentence reading “I will follow up with you in one week.” Bam! That’s assertive!

Have additional cover letter advice? We want to hear from you! Comment below!

 

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The Biggest Cover Letter Pet Peeves

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Whether it be the overuse of the word “like” or bad parking, we all have individual pet peeves that drive us crazy to the core. The aggravating annoyance of the nails-on-a-chalkboard action occupies your every thought with fuming anger. Since these actions are such an imposition to our sanity, we not only avoid them at all costs, but religiously refrain from doing them ourselves.

Believe it or not, the same pet peeves that make you want to tear out your freshly ironed hair are applicable to a cover letter. Certain tweaks common in cover letters bug employers just as much as the girl next to you in class chomping on her nail bits. No need to fret; here are the pet peeves that may be getting in your way.

Keep it clean

Just like you want to look sharp and professional in an interview, your cover letter should have the same shirt-tucked-in personality. The outfit: clean, white paper; 11 or 12 font size (preferably Times New Roman); minimal bolding and italics; and no bright, distracting colors.

Consider your audience

Let’s clarify this – a cover letter is not a Facebook message to your best gal pal painted with slang, fragments, and kitty-cat emojis. The tone of your cover letter should be as if you are speaking to the employer or a professor in-person: with pose, professionalism, and a business mindset.

Consider your audience, again

How would you feel if someone called you Mr. or Miss. when you’re only in your twenties? Addressing a cover letter to “Dear Miss. X,” “To whom it may concern,” or “Dear sir or madam” is not only extremely impersonal, it’s a bit of an insulting turn-off to young adults. Check out how to scour the Internet to find an employer’s name here.

The worst of them all…

The biggest pet peeve of all is (are you ready?): careless grammatical errors. Spelling errors, typos, and even accidently writing the wrong company name are one-way tickets to the trashcan. Double-check. Triple-check. Quadruple-check!

Eager for more? Check out our article on the 5 biggest employer turn-offs.

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Make Your Cover Letter Passionate & Professional

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We are all passionate professionals, but how do you sound passionate while also being professional? It’s an issue. When it comes to writing a cover letter for a position you’ve been ogling after for what feels like forever, you want to express the immense amount of zeal you have in your writing without sounding like a One Direction groupie. Here’s how to manage your brimming enthusiasm while still sounding professional.

1. Play by the rules. Keep your cover letter to its destined format (one page and no more than three paragraphs.) While scribing the novel of the love story between yourself and the company may seem heartwarming, it’s long, typical, and unprofessional.

2. First thing first; be bland. Write out a boring version of your cover letter so you have an established format and framework that includes your skills and expertise. Once that’s penned, it’s time to paint the town! Interject colorful sentences here and there to display your passion and pizzazz!

3. It’s okay to get personal. If this is the holy grail of internships for you, express that (tastefully.) In 2-4 sentences (max) share a personal anecdote or craft a powerful statement proving why you want to work for the company.

It’s all about balance!

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3 Things To Remember When Applying This Weekend

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With the spring sunshine creeping through the sky, the summer internship season is quickly approaching! For those of you still looking, here three quick tips to incorporate when you’re applying this weekend.

1. We all could benefit from some organization. When applying this weekend, create a document that lists the company name, the position, contact information, and date you applied for each application. That way your brain won’t get foggy when a slew of positive responses come pouring in! Also, try adding a follow-up date (two weeks later) to the sheet as a little reminder.

2. Remember, you’re talking to an actual person (and they’re not named “whom.”) When addressing your cover letter, make sure to address it to the actual person who will be receiving it, not “to whom it may concern.” If there is no contact name given, go sleuthing on LinkedIn to find the human resources contact or at least someone in the department you’re interested in. Once you have a name, dig a little deeper through the World Wide Web and see if you can find the email “formula” for the company (ex: firstname_lastname@condenast.com.) Then, all you have to do is plug in the name and whala! Not only do you now have a name, you have a pinpointed person with whom you can later communicate with.

3. Did you proofread? Do it again! And one more time… Having correct spelling and grammar in a cover letter and resume is crucial! One mistake and I can assure you your application will have a new home in the trash. Edit the document on the computer, then edit it on paper, then edit it on the computer again. Not only is three times a charm, you’ll spot different imperfections on the screen and on paper.

Good luck!

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How To Make Your Cover Letter Memorable

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“Hi, my name is _____ , and I am interested in the position of _____.” Snooze… Yet, that’s how most of us start our cover letters. It’s not a wrong way to start your cover letter, it just simply lacks any gusto that will separate your letter from the slew heaped on an employer’s desk. But, there is a wonderful alternative that will make you memorable!

What? Opening with a story!

Employers are people. People love to be entertained. Stories are entertaining. People love stories. The math is simple! Leading with a personal story that either happened at work or during your free time that is dramatic, interesting, unique, exciting, or downright unusual provides a welcomed differentiation from the pile of cover letters he or she is going through. Not only does your fresh anecdote catch the reader’s attention, weaving in your skills exhibited in your story slyly demonstrates your ability to do the job well.

The best part of including a personal story is it is your’s and only your’s. No one has had the same experience, making your tale individual and memorable. But, be careful. Don’t la-de-da about your entire life story. It’s time consuming and, honestly, no one cares. Select a concise story that proves your qualification with care.

Remember: the same person that binge watches Scandal is reading your cover letter. Channel your inner-Olivia Pope and have some fun!

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How To Master A Short Introduction

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We recently had a reader ask what to write in a short introduction when sending your resume and cover letter. Thanks for asking, Lauren! (we love questions!)

A short introduction is your opportunity to stand out! The interviewer is about to sort through a number of introductions, and now’s your chance to showcase your personality and brag with wit and spunk. Save the grueling details for your cover letter and resume. Keep your introduction to 4-5 sentences. You want to exert a snip-it of your personality and accomplishments, not display your entire life story.

Take for example:

Hi Carla,

I’m Slater Katz; a.k.a: a developing shopaholic; tourist-a-phobic New Yorker; a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur; an early bird; a proud nerd; an impulsive pundit; and a fashion maven. Originally a pale, Arizona native, I am now a sophomore at FIT, having just completed my sixth (!) internship. In addition, I’ve written for five online magazines, coordinate the blog for Free Fashion Internships.com, and am a contributing writer for USA TODAY College, all in addition to masterminding my personal blog, New York Claustrophobia. I’m quickly catapulting into the core of the fashion world with spunk, wit, and class with a soy latte in my hand.

I’ve attached my resume and cover letter above. I appreciate your time, and look forward to being in contact.

Best,

Slater Katz

Memorable? That’s the point!

 

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