How Writing a Cover Letter Is as Easy as Doing Mad Libs | EdSurge News

Postsecondary Learning

How Writing a Cover Letter Is as Easy as Doing Mad Libs

By Shelby Adkisson     Apr 3, 2018

How Writing a Cover Letter Is as Easy as Doing Mad Libs

You’ve found the perfect role, the perfect company and you’ve honed your resume (using some of the tips from EdSurge, yeah?). The last piece of the puzzle before you make that first contact with the employer you want is the all important–and time-consuming–cover letter.

You’ve read the articles and the books and you know that you’re supposed to customize your cover letter for each job application. Yet, who has the time to individualize each application when you’re on the job hunt? The EdSurge Jobs team members have wracked their brains to devise this handy guide to creating a cover letter that you can use when applying to just about any role.

The Details

A cover letter is meant to give you, the jobseeker, a chance to speak directly to why you are a great fit for the job. Most hiring managers barely have enough time in a day to open one doc or PDF–let alone two. So do your potential employer a favor and keep attachments to a minimum: either combine your cover letter with your resume, or apply your cover letter to the body of the email you use to attach your resume.

The Breakdown (aka The Hack)

Who says that creating a cover letter can’t be fun? Here’s our plug 'n play template that you can customize for your own needs. Just think of this as Mad Libs for adults!

Your first step in preparing your cover letter (and any customizations that you want to make to your resume) starts with pulling at least two key job requirements from the posted job description and addressing how your past experience fulfills these requirements--and at least one of the published mission goal of the organization.

Job Description Takeaway Your Qualifications
Job Requirement #1 Name one skill that you have that applies to this job requirement.

How many years of experience have you had doign this? And/or include a performance metric (e.g. how did your team measure success?)
Job Requirement #2 Name one skill that you have that applies to this job requirement.

How many years of experience have you had doing this? And/or include a performance metric (e.g. how did your team measure success?)
Company Mission #1 Find one aspect of the company's mission (or, more specifically, the team's goal within the company if available) that excites you.

Using the information that you assembled in the above the table, go ahead and plug that information into cover letter template (of course, always re-read and play with the language to make sure that your cover letter sounds natural).

"Dear [Hiring Manager point of contact],

My name is [first and last name] and I am a/an [fitting job descriptor] with [X] years of experience and am incredibly interested in learning more about your open role of [job title] at [company name].

As a [current/past role], I’ve honed my skills at [required trait #1] by [your past experience], as well as implemented [your past experience] to drive [required trait #2].

I look forward to speaking more with you about your [overarching mission or specific team mission].

Sincerely,
[First and Last Name]


Email Address
Phone Number
LinkedIn Profile URL
Any Other Career-related Profile URL (ex. GitHub, personal website)"

Finishing Touches

Are you applying to this role by email? Your subject line is your best friend. Make sure that you draw your reader (the hiring manager) in–the sky's the limit, just make sure that you’re not sending a generic “SUBJ: Jane Doe Resume” or “SUBJ: My job application” as your subject line.

On that note, make sure that when you’re attaching your resume or resume/cover letter combo that you’ve named your file appropriately. You would be astonished at how many resumes end up in a hiring manager’s downloads folder as “Resume 2017” or “Cover Letter”—without any clue about who sent them. Create a naming convention that will help a hiring manager find your document with a simple search. Our fav is: firstname_lastname_company_year.

We know that it’s time-intensive to customize each cover letter–but hiring managers deeply appreciate the care that you take. After all, this is someone that you hope to work with in the future. It's worth a few extra minutes to get started on the right foot.

Happy hunting!

Postsecondary Learning

How Writing a Cover Letter Is as Easy as Doing Mad Libs

By Shelby Adkisson     Apr 3, 2018

How Writing a Cover Letter Is as Easy as Doing Mad Libs

You’ve found the perfect role, the perfect company and you’ve honed your resume (using some of the tips from EdSurge, yeah?). The last piece of the puzzle before you make that first contact with the employer you want is the all important–and time-consuming–cover letter.

You’ve read the articles and the books and you know that you’re supposed to customize your cover letter for each job application. Yet, who has the time to individualize each application when you’re on the job hunt? The EdSurge Jobs team members have wracked their brains to devise this handy guide to creating a cover letter that you can use when applying to just about any role.

The Details

A cover letter is meant to give you, the jobseeker, a chance to speak directly to why you are a great fit for the job. Most hiring managers barely have enough time in a day to open one doc or PDF–let alone two. So do your potential employer a favor and keep attachments to a minimum: either combine your cover letter with your resume, or apply your cover letter to the body of the email you use to attach your resume.

The Breakdown (aka The Hack)

Who says that creating a cover letter can’t be fun? Here’s our plug 'n play template that you can customize for your own needs. Just think of this as Mad Libs for adults!

Your first step in preparing your cover letter (and any customizations that you want to make to your resume) starts with pulling at least two key job requirements from the posted job description and addressing how your past experience fulfills these requirements--and at least one of the published mission goal of the organization.

Job Description Takeaway Your Qualifications
Job Requirement #1 Name one skill that you have that applies to this job requirement.

How many years of experience have you had doign this? And/or include a performance metric (e.g. how did your team measure success?)
Job Requirement #2 Name one skill that you have that applies to this job requirement.

How many years of experience have you had doing this? And/or include a performance metric (e.g. how did your team measure success?)
Company Mission #1 Find one aspect of the company's mission (or, more specifically, the team's goal within the company if available) that excites you.

Using the information that you assembled in the above the table, go ahead and plug that information into cover letter template (of course, always re-read and play with the language to make sure that your cover letter sounds natural).

"Dear [Hiring Manager point of contact],

My name is [first and last name] and I am a/an [fitting job descriptor] with [X] years of experience and am incredibly interested in learning more about your open role of [job title] at [company name].

As a [current/past role], I’ve honed my skills at [required trait #1] by [your past experience], as well as implemented [your past experience] to drive [required trait #2].

I look forward to speaking more with you about your [overarching mission or specific team mission].

Sincerely,
[First and Last Name]


Email Address
Phone Number
LinkedIn Profile URL
Any Other Career-related Profile URL (ex. GitHub, personal website)"

Finishing Touches

Are you applying to this role by email? Your subject line is your best friend. Make sure that you draw your reader (the hiring manager) in–the sky's the limit, just make sure that you’re not sending a generic “SUBJ: Jane Doe Resume” or “SUBJ: My job application” as your subject line.

On that note, make sure that when you’re attaching your resume or resume/cover letter combo that you’ve named your file appropriately. You would be astonished at how many resumes end up in a hiring manager’s downloads folder as “Resume 2017” or “Cover Letter”—without any clue about who sent them. Create a naming convention that will help a hiring manager find your document with a simple search. Our fav is: firstname_lastname_company_year.

We know that it’s time-intensive to customize each cover letter–but hiring managers deeply appreciate the care that you take. After all, this is someone that you hope to work with in the future. It's worth a few extra minutes to get started on the right foot.

Happy hunting!

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