Cover letter tips for new graduates

Cover letter tips for new graduates

Cover Letter Advice

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The employment outlook for new graduates is still gloomy, but you have a good chance of landing a job if you launch an aggressive search. A well-crafted cover letter should be part of this proactive strategy – experts say that customising your letter can open doors to new opportunities. Here's how.

Know the Employer
While distributing the same cover letter to every employer saves time, you won't stand out from the crowd of applicants doing the same thing. You need to go online and try and find out as much as possible about the company in question and what their business is looking for. Going the extra mile not only shows your willingness to make an effort but will also help you realise if this company would be a good fit for you on a personal level.

What to Include
You might lack real-world work experience, but your cover letter can be chock-full of activities that demonstrate your potential to succeed.

These activities could include volunteer work, class projects and extra-curricular activities, as well as special interest projects - such as travelling, reading, music etc.

When it comes to being a new graduate, you may wish to take advantage of any high/stand out academic achievements. If you took initiative in any school activities that show leadership or qualities around being a team-player, these are worth mentioning. Anyone can write about being a "great team-player" but it's your real life examples that will help the recruiter understand how you will demonstrate these skills in the workplace.

Cover Letter Format
Your cover letter is not your autobiography - hit on the key points that would interest employers, but keep the letter short. The final paragraph should end with a bang - clearly state how you would contribute to the employer's operation and confidently ask for an interview.

Include a brief opening paragraph that mentions the specifics of the position you are targeting, followed by four to five bullets reflecting qualifications that are relevant to their requirements.

The final paragraph should end with a bang – clearly state how you would contribute to the employer’s operation, and confidently ask for an interview.

Unsure of Your Career Goal?
Do some career exploration before writing a cover letter. Hiring managers should not have to figure out how your skills meet their needs. Do that work for them. If you have more than one possible direction, write different cover letters for each objective.

As you gain clarity about what you're good at and most want, you'll be ready to communicate from a genuine, confident place.