Cover Letter Tips For Non-Writers

By Danielle Wirsansky on February 5, 2018

One of the most daunting aspects of graduation for college students is the urgent need to apply for jobs. Once college ends and you graduate, you have to join the real world as they call it. Once you graduate, it is all on you whether you fail, succeed, or thrive. But you can’t do that without a job, can you?

Applying for jobs is annoying. You have to have a resume, which means you have to think way back and try to remember all of the things you have to list on it. You have to format it, and you never know what way a potential employer will want it formatted. You have to fill out applications, which just require you to fill out all the same information that is already on your resume AGAIN. Sometimes, you even need a CV, which is a resume that lists everything you have ever done rather than a selection meant to highlight your best. But worst of all is the dreaded cover letter!

Many students just breaking out into the workforce may be unfamiliar with cover letters, and can be hesitant about writing them. When a job posting asks for a cover letter, it can chase student applicants away from it, especially those that feel like their writing skills are not the strongest. But you want to make sure that your future is not limited simply because you are not sure of how to write a cover letter! Do not let your insecurities limit your future. A great cover letter can be written by both writers AND non-writers alike, if you follow the following tips!

Know What a Cover Letter Is

Before you can write a truly excellent cover letter, you need to have a good understanding of what a cover letter is. What is its purpose? What is its goal? How does it help you to write and have a cover letter with your job application materials? Start by realizing what a cover letter is.

The Balance explains that a cover letter is “… a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience…. The letter provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for… specific information on why you’re a strong match for the employer’s job requirements…. Employers use cover letters as a way to screen applicants for available jobs and to determine which candidates they would like to interview.”

Knowing what a cover letter is and what it will provide employers helps you to figure out exactly the best way to write one. What information do you need to provide to really sell yourself? Even if your writing is not top notch, having the right information in your cover letter will help you to attract job offers and potential employers.

Use a Template

If you still feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing a cover letter and are not sure if your writing is up to snuff for the job, then using a template is highly recommended! Different kinds of jobs require different information, so you do need to find or create a template that will really work for you and not just the first thing you find or create.

If you decide to create your own template, just work really hard to write the best cover letter for your industry as you can. You know your field and what you want to do best, and it is highly recommended that you work to create your own template first if you can. It might be a little scary to do, but once you have your template, you can use it over and over again for all your job hunting needs with only minor tweaks. If you decide to go down this route, you should definitely visit your Career Center on campus to get help writing one so that you feel absolutely confident in the material that you are sending out.

If you do not feel comfortable to write your own outline of a cover letter, go online as there are many templates out there. You just need to make sure you are picking one that is well written and better tailored to your needs than any old generic template. You do want your cover letter to be interesting and relevant to the job opportunity, so just be sure to make the wisest choice!

Customize Your Cover Letter

One step you always need to make you take and do not skip is customizing your cover letter! It is great if you have a template to use, but you need to customize that template, usually for every single job you apply for. There is always something a little bit different about the job posting that you should tailor your cover letter to. Show your best self, not your laziest self, and put your best foot forward.

Writing a cover letter might take a little bit more work, but when the job offers come rolling in, the results will have been worth it!

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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