GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS! - Attention-Cover+Lette · PDF fileGET ATTENTION:...

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Transcript of GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS! - Attention-Cover+Lette · PDF fileGET ATTENTION:...

  • GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS!

    DEVELOPED FOR ALBERTA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, RED DEER SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP, YOUTH IN TRANSITIONS INITIATIVE July 2009

    Page 1 of 5

    FACILITATOR GUIDE

    SESSION OVERVIEW

    This 40 minute session introduces students to the purpose, importance and use of

    cover letters. Students will be prepared to construct a cover letter that will get

    attention.

    Additional time will be required for students to complete the Cover Letter Template

    Working Copy prior to inputting the cover letter information to an electronic

    template.

    Note: This session is recommended following completion of the Pick Up and Go Kit

    Get Noticed: Resumes that Work! Students should have a copy of their resumes

    available when constructing their accompanying cover letters.

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

    1. Students will understand what a cover letter is and how it differs from a resume.

    2. Students will develop awareness of the importance and use of a cover letter.

    3. Students will be able to identify characteristics of an excellent cover letter.

    4. Students will recognize key components of a cover letter.

    5. Students will compose a targeted cover letter.

    MATERIALS

    Handout 1 Cover Letter Samples A and B

    Handout 2 Resume Samples A and B

    (From Get Noticed: Resumes that Work!)

    Handout 3 Cover Letter Template Working Copy

    Handout 4 Cover Letter Checklist

    Electronic Cover Letter Template

    Teacher References: Alberta Employment and Immigration publications Advanced

    Techniques to Work Search and Job Seekers Handbook

    Cover_Letter_Template.doc

  • GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS!

    DEVELOPED FOR ALBERTA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, RED DEER SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP, YOUTH IN TRANSITIONS INITIATIVE July 2009

    Page 2 of 5

    OVERVIEW AND TIMELINES

    Introduction What is a cover letter? 3 Minutes

    Part of the Package 7 Minutes

    Cover Letters: Lets have a look! 7 Minutes

    Getting Started! 20 Minutes

    Wrap Up 3 Minutes

    ACTIVITIES

    INTRODUCTION WHAT IS A COVER LETTER? As an introduction to cover letters, ask the students the following two questions.

    1. What is a cover letter?

    2. What is the purpose of a cover letter? PART OF THE PACKAGE

    Remind students that just as a resume is used to apply for many different types of opportunities, so should cover letters be used when looking for employment as well as volunteer work, scholarships, school trips, exchange travel, leadership opportunities, Off-campus programs (Work Experience, RAP, etc.)

    Top Up List for Facilitators

    Captures attention and interest of reader

    Introduces you to reader

    Highlights skills, experiences, accomplishments and key information relevant to the

    specific requirements of a specific opportunity (eg. job, scholarship, volunteering,

    travel exchange, etc.)

    Motivates reader to look at the accompanying resume and invite you to an interview

    Explains why you are interested in the opportunity

    Top Up List for Facilitators

    A business document that accompanies a resume or application

    Most often, a work search tool submitted to prospective employers

    A method of self-marketing or advertising skills, experiences and accomplishments

  • GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS!

    DEVELOPED FOR ALBERTA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, RED DEER SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP, YOUTH IN TRANSITIONS INITIATIVE July 2009

    Page 3 of 5

    Use the analogy of a movie and its trailer to emphasize how a resume and a cover letter work together to market an individuals skills, experiences and accomplishments as a package.

    Ask the students what the purpose of a movie trailer is.

    The goal of a trailer is to capture attention and generate interest for the movie so that viewers will be enticed to see the movie in its entirety.

    This is exactly the same relationship between a cover letter and a resume! The resume is like a movie, longer and more in-depth, while the cover letter is the trailer, shorter but with key information that will entice the reader to look at the resume. The resume and the cover letter work best together as a package in the work search process.

    Knowing the Difference

    Explain that while resumes and cover letters work together, they are two very different documents. Each has its own structure and purpose.

    Highlight and discuss the differences between resumes and cover letters.

    Resumes:

    Broad overview of skills, experiences, education, accomplishments, activities

    Used over and over with minor changes

    Cover Letters:

    Unique letter to a specific person and tailored to a specific job or opportunity

    Shines spotlight on the information most relevant to the job or opportunity

    Must complement, not just repeat information from resume

    Why is it an advantage to submit a cover letter along with a resume?

    Top Up List for Facilitators

    Position yourself above those who do not submit a cover letter

    Shows you are serious about the position you are applying for

    Shows that you understand the skills required for the specific position or opportunity

    Many interviewers will discard resumes that do not have a cover letter attached

    More professional to package a cover letter with a resume

    Creates a good first impression

  • GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS!

    DEVELOPED FOR ALBERTA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, RED DEER SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP, YOUTH IN TRANSITIONS INITIATIVE July 2009

    Page 4 of 5

    Get Attention!

    As part of the package it is critical that both resumes and cover letters create a positive impression. Review with the students the criteria of a high quality resume.

    Tailored to job or opportunity applying for

    Formatted well easy to read, quick to scan, spaced properly

    White paper

    Black ink

    Plain, easy to read font for example, Times New Roman, Arial

    Font size 10 12 depending on length of resume (no smaller, no larger)

    No spelling or typing errors

    No short forms or abbreviations

    Not folded, wrinkly, messy

    Emphasize that many of the same criteria apply to cover letters as well. Additional criteria specific to cover letters include the following:

    Use a conservative, professional business letter format

    Do not copy and send the same letter to a variety of opportunities

    Specifically personalize to the requirements of the opportunity

    Not longer than one page

    Provide a handwritten signature

    COVER LETTERS: LETS HAVE A LOOK!

    Distribute one or both Cover Letter Samples (Handout 1 A and B) and one or both complementary Resume Samples (Handout 2 A and B).

    Read the cover letter samples together with the students. Refer to the accompanying resumes and emphasize how key elements from the resumes including experiences, accomplishments and skills are highlighted in the cover letters.

    Discuss with the students how a cover letter must highlight and elaborate on the information provided in the resume that is most relevant to the specific job or opportunity you are applying for. A cover letter tailored to these specific requirements will get attention. Remind them that if the letter is not tailored and targeted to a specific job or opportunity it may be immediately discarded, along with the resume! Review the cover letter samples noting the following sections:

    Salutation: A specific person must be addressed by name when at all possible.

    Goal of Opening Paragraph: Include information on the position you are applying for and how you learned about it. Capture attention by offering a bit of information about you!

  • GET ATTENTION: CATCHY COVER LETTERS!

    DEVELOPED FOR ALBERTA EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, RED DEER SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP, YOUTH IN TRANSITIONS INITIATIVE July 2009

    Page 5 of 5

    Goal of Middle Paragraph: Convince the reader why you are the right person for the job by stating skills and strengths, with examples, that specifically target the requirements of the opportunity.

    Goal of Closing Paragraph: Identify the next step such as a potential meeting time or an invitation to interview. Include specific information on how you may be contacted.

    Closure: Provide a handwritten signature. Enclosure means that a resume or application form accompanies the cover letter.

    GETTING STARTED! Note: Ideally students will produce a cover letter to accompany the resume they created using the Pick Up and Go Kit Get Noticed: Resumes that Work!.

    Distribute the Cover Letter Template Working Copy (Handout 3).

    Explain that the Cover Letter Template Working Copy is to be completed before inputting the information to the electronic cover letter template on computer.

    Highlight the Tips / Examples boxes that appear for each cover letter section. The information featured in these boxes will assist the students to produce an excellent cover letter a cover letter that will get attention!

    Allow time for students to begin filling out the Cover Letter Template Working Copy.

    Note: It will not be possible for students to complete the Cover Letter Template

    Working Copy in its entirety within a 40 minute session. It is recommended that the

    Working Copy be completed before inputting the information to the Electronic Cover

    Letter Template.

    Handout 4, Cover Letter Chec