Do you want to know why this upcoming Spring Career Day is on Valentine’s Day? It’s because all of these companies love Mines students! But even though they do love us, we need to tell them why. This is where the idea of a cover letter comes from. Lin Sherman from the Career Center discussed the idea that a cover letter is really a love letter to the company you are applying to. And surprisingly, this analogy holds fairly well.
A cover letter, like a love letter, cannot simply be a laundry list of demands. The letter recipient would not appreciate that in the slightest. When writing a cover letter to a company, it needs to explain how the student would fit in with them. As Sherman said, “The letter is not all about you, it’s about you in relation to them.” If students list what they are looking for when applying for the job, but do not explain how the company would benefit from hiring them, they will not impress them in the slightest. It is the job of the applicant to show why he or she is needed by the company, not the job of the company to figure out why they should hire the applicant.
Continuing with the love letter analogy, would it impress your valentine if your letter was addressed “Dear valentine?” Definitely not. If you know the person who is receiving the letter, it should be specifically addressed to them instead of being generally addressed “Dear hiring manager.” Not sure who to address the cover letter to when applying to a company? Look in the handy career day guide. Every company listing has the name and contact information of that company’s recruiter for this region. Students should show the employer that they care enough about the job by doing a little research into the company by contacting the recruiter.
One final rule about love letters and cover letters – never write one generic valentine and give it to multiple people. Never write one cover letter and submit it for every application. By taking the time to apply to a company, you are saying the goals of the company matter to you. Therefore, it is important to do some research into what the company does and to mention it in the letter. If a company states that they are looking for innovators, then it is probably a good idea for students to mention some kind of innovation they have worked on. Echoing what the company is looking for is a great way to demonstrate why they should hire you.