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Cover Letters and Personal Statements

Cover Letters and Personal Statements

Every resume you send needs its cover letter. Sending a resume without one is like starting an interview without shaking hands. As a complement of your resume, cover letters are an opportunity to elaborate on why you are fit for the job and show your enthusiasm.

Cover letters should be written in a readable font. Your address, as well as your reviewers, should be at the top. Also, type your name below your signature at the bottom. E-mailed cover letters do not include addresses. When you do not know the name of the person to address in the salutation, expressions like Dear Search Committeemay work fine.

  • Make good use of the first paragraph and try to catch your prospective employers attention from the first line being as original as you can.
  • Try to make it personal, a cover letter that only applies to you. Examples of your professional experience may help you do so.
  • When submitting a resume through e-mail, enclose the cover letter as the body of the e-mail. 

It is also advisable to structure your cover letter in four parts and make it fit on one page: Salutation, Opening, Body, and Closing.

  • In the salutation, whenever possible, send your letter to a specific person.
  • In the opening, when you are referring to the company, your knowledge of it may help you to connect yourself to the job. But do not go overboard; save specifics for the interview.
  • Take advantage of the bodyof your cover letter by not merely repeating your résumé, but summarizing your most relevant qualifications. Provide additional details about noteworthy accomplishments and address gaps in your work history or other problems evident on your resume.
  • The closingis your final paragraph, thank your interviewer and keep in mind that this might be your last opportunity to arise your reviewer's interest in you as an applicant. So, make some good use of these last lines. 

A personal statement differentiates itself from a cover letter since it is a portrait of who you are, writing about yourself, showing you are a human being behind your transcripts, and the list of accomplishments in other jobs. It is your story.

  • Accomplishments should be mentioned, but in a way that shows how your passion has led you to devote yourself to a particular field and what your line of study means to you.
  • A personal statement is usually between 800 and 1000 words. Therefore, it needs to be engaging. To do so, watch your narrative not to make it too wordy. Verbs are more helpful than adjectives in this. Also, specific anecdotes or experiences may be useful. They should highlight how you used your strengths to make them turn out successfully. 
  • It should illustrate your life chronologically, stating people, classes, experiences, etc., that motivated you to choose your current career path.
  • It is advisable not to include weaknesses. However, if some shortcoming becomes apparent in the résumé, this is the opportunity to explain what you are doing to make something good out of it.
  • It is more prudent to personalize your statement for your potential employer. However, if you decide to use the same statement as a basis for various institutions, pay special attention not to include comments or names of other institutions.
  • Do not overlook the technical issues, such as grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. Show you can write well, avoiding slang and informality.

Writing cover letters and personal statements are not easy tasks. They require a long time to make them fruitful. So, allow yourself plenty of time, make your friends and family members read it to get a different approach and input. Ask them what they consider your strengths are, what they most like about you. And be ready to revise, revise, and revise. There is a big chance you have to rewrite a letter or statement several times. Just keep in mind to always maintain a positive, confident tone.