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Career 411: 5 Steps for Creating Great Cover Letters

So, you have decided that you are going to apply for your dream position. You have sat down and beautifully crafted your resume and are now beginning to work on your cover letter. You have written Dear Mr. Smith, and find yourself stuck with what to say. If this sounds like you, you should consider these easy steps for writing great cover letters.

Step 1: Introduce yourself

–  In your introductory paragraph you should tell the reader who you are (e.g. class year and where you go to school, your ties to the geographic area where you applying, if any, and your connection to the employer or the individual whom you are sending the letter)

– You should also tell them WHY you are writing, such as how you learned about the position or that someone they know (be sure and insert that person’s name) has told you to contact them.

Step 2: Express interest in the job

–  You need to let the employer know that you are not just interested in this position because you need a job and any old job will do. You need to articulate to the potential employer specifically why you are interested in this position.

Step 3: Demonstrate how hiring you will be beneficial to the employer

–  You should prove that you are the best candidate for the position with sold facts that you can back up. You should tailor each cover letter the needs of the employer and focus on the qualities that you possess that make you uniquely qualified for the position. The best way to articulate these facts are through relevant experiences you have had, but make sure that you are not simply restating your resume.

– Be positive and confident, don’t discuss your weaknesses or lack of qualifications and avoid using phrases such as “I believe” or “I think” as these words qualify your statements.

Step 4: Ask for an interview

– In your closing paragraph you must make sure that you let the potential employer know that you want to discuss the position with them. You will need to tell the employer how you can best be reached. If you are applying to an employer that is out of town and you are planning a visit there, you should provide them dates you would be available to meet.

– Remember, if you put in your cover letter that you look forward to hearing from them, you are foreclosing the ability to initiate follow up, which you do not want to do.

Step 5: EDIT, EDIT, EDIT!

– You should have multiple people proofreading and editing your cover letter before you send it out to any employers (including us in the CDO). Make changes based on the comments and proofread each revision. While everyone makes mistakes, the one overarching quality employers are looking for is attention to detail, and a typo in your cover letter (a document you should be taking very seriously) would indicate that is a quality you do not possess.

What's going on?: October 27-31

Good morning Hulston Hall!  Be sure to check out the events that are going on this week. Today at 1:00 p.m., Mizzou Law’s Pro Bono Month presents Life of a Lawyer: Jennifer Schwendemann in Room 107.  Jennifer is the Director of Risk Management and Pro Bono Services at Husch Blackwell in St. Louis and will  Continue Reading »

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Legal Aid Panel– Pro Bono Month

This past Wednesday, Mizzou Law hosted Michael Matthews, ’12, Volunteer Coordinator for Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Michael Spillane, ’11, Staff Attorney for Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Jim Guest, Director of the Volunteer Lawyer’s Program for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and Stacy Schaub, Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri as part of the  Continue Reading »

Resource Review: WLA of Greater St. Louis

All women interested in working in the St. Louis Area should definitely check out the website of the Women Lawyers’ Association (WLA) of Greater St. Louis. (wlastl.org). WLA was started in 1976, as an association to support and promote women lawyers in all of their endeavors. WLA looks to address issues pertinent to being a  Continue Reading »

Career 411: Why Law Students Should be Blogging Now!

Are you looking for a way to stand out from the crowd and get noticed during your job search? You should consider starting your own blog. Not only does blogging about a particular type of law show a potential employer your interests, it is also a great way to become deeply knowledgeable in a certain  Continue Reading »

What's going on?: October 20-24

Mizzou Law’s Pro Bono Month is in full swing.  ACS and EJLA will be co-sponsoring with the Career Development Office, Legal Aid Panel, on Wednesday, October 22nd at 1:00 p.m. in the Courtroom.  Michael Spillane, ’11, Staff Attorney for Legal Services of Southern Missouri; Michael Matthews, ’12, Volunteer Coordinator with Mid-Missouri Legal Services; Jim Guest,  Continue Reading »

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Mizzou Law Pro Bono Opportunities

There are many opportunities at Mizzou Law to engage in pro bono work while you are in law school so that you can get the Mizzou Law Pro Bono Certificate and give back to your community. Over winter break, both EJLA and Lambda Legal sponsor trips to New Orleans, LA, where students either volunteer at  Continue Reading »