Job Specific Cover Letters, part 2: Entry Level Jobs
A cover letter is created like a building. The foundations are your skills, qualifications and motivations. The walls are your experience. The roof is the logical proof that you should be considered for the job. As any builder will tell you, all parts of a building have to be functional, or the building doesn't work as a whole.
Foundations of a cover letter
A good example of a cover letter is the sort written when going for an entry level job. A person applying for a job at entry level doesn't have much of a CV. Their work record can't do the talking for them. So they have to rely on the cover letter to explain themselves to the employer.
The fundamentals of the foundations are pretty straightforward. Skills and qualifications are partly explained by the education record. To put those in context with the application, they have to have motivations to explain the interest in the job.
How you express yourself with this basic information is very important.
You have qualifications in commerce. You apply for a job at a retail store.
You explain your motivations and qualifications objectively:
I'm a recent graduate of ABC Business College, looking for career opportunities in commerce, particularly in retail businesses. I'm therefore strongly motivated to apply for this position, where I can obtain important skills and experience in the industry.
As you can see, there's no possible doubt of the person's motivations, qualifications, or their reason for applying for the job. Simple, direct, and effective is always the way to go.
Building the cover letter's walls
Now you can expand the theme about your experience and skills. This is extremely useful information to those reading your application. It defines your abilities well, and they can compare them with other applicants.
Our retail position applicant continues:
My qualifications include business administration, commercial business studies, and basic business accountancy. I also did three months part-time work in a retail chain, XYZ Discounts Inc. One of my references is from that employer.
This part of the cover letter adds a lot of useful information:
- The applicant is well trained, and can function in multiple roles.
- The applicant has work experience in retail.
- The applicant has a reference from a past employer.
- Work experience has encouraged the applicant's career goals.
These four points are enough to qualify the applicant for an interview, at least. This applicant is obviously good.Covering with logic
Now it's time to logically conclude your cover letter. In the closing paragraph you should basically be stating, "This is why you should give me this job."
The job applicant in our example now makes that very clear:
I really enjoyed my work at XYZ, and I was pleased to see that this position includes work in the same fields as my work there. I think my qualifications and experience are well suited for this job.
The logic here is that the applicant's information is an almost exact match for the job criteria, backed with additional qualifications and experience. This job specific cover letter gives a great impression to the employer.