Writing a cover letter is not a requirement to secure a co-op position; however, some of our co-op employers request students to apply directly through their website. As part of the application process, a cover letter may be necessary. Here are some simple tips to help you create a cover letter.
Determine Your Unique Selling Points
With the knowledge that you have about the employer, how would you help achieve organizational goals? What skills and abilities can you bring to the position that would be of value to the employer? Set yourself apart: If there are 100 other applicants vying for the same position, why should the hiring manager take a chance on you? Write a list of the top five reasons why you're an excellent candidate for that position and incorporate those reasons into the body of the cover letter.
Components of a Cover Letter
Heading/Date/Inside Address: If you are writing a traditional (not email) letter, select a standard business-letter format such as block style. Your letter's design should match your resume.
Salutation: It's best to address your letter to a specific person (i.e., "Dear Ms. Jones:") if available. If you do not have a contact name, the salutation should be "Dear Hiring Manager".
Opening Paragraph: Hiring managers are busy. Your opening paragraph should clearly state the position for which you're applying. Include a reference code if requested and the referral source (i.e. Kettering Connect). Your opening may also include a synopsis of why you are a top candidate for the position. For example:
Your position advertised on Kettering Connect is an excellent fit with my qualifications as the enclosed resume will attest. My background includes four years of successful leadership and communication skills used during my Eagle Scout project to construct walking paths at Camp Summertime.
Body: The body of the letter contains the sales pitch. This is your chance to outline the top reasons why you could be selected for an interview. When writing the body text, keep in mind that hiring managers tend to be department-centered; they want to know what you can do for them, not learn about your life story. Demonstrate how your credentials, motivation and track record would benefit their operation. Review your top five selling factors and add them into the body. Back up achievements with specific examples of how your performance benefited current, former employers, or teams, and clubs you participated in. Use statements such as "Highlights of my credentials include" or "Key strengths I offer include. . ."
Closing Paragraph: Your final paragraph should generate a call for action, so express your strong interest in an interview and state when you will follow up.
Close and Your Name: End with a professional close such as "Best regards", or "Sincerely".