The art of the cover letter

Cover letters can make the difference between getting called in for an interview or having your résumé discarded. Make sure you have one!

Her résumé may not be enough. Jill needs to have a cover letter! Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Last post, we talked about Jane, a waitress who wanted to get into IT. Today, let’s fast forward eight months. Jane has finished her degree in Art (four months for her last semester) and has studied for and obtained her A+ (another four months.) She’s fixed up her résumé and studied her note cards. She’s just about all set to start her job search except for one thing: she needs a cover letter.

The cover letter is crucial for Jane. Her degree is not in a technical field and her work experience is not in IT. She’ll need to explain why these things shouldn’t be red flags if she hopes to get an interview. Below is a cover letter that could help Jane get called for an interview. After that, it’ll be up to her to wow them (which she will because she’s going to show up prepared!)

When writing your own cover letter, make sure your passion for IT comes across and also use the opportunity to explain anything that might need explaining. And remember to tailor your cover letter to each position you apply for. I would recommend creating a template like the one below. Mark out each section that needs to be changed so you don’t miss anything. In the below example, I marked those sections within [brackets].

By the way, don’t forget to sign your cover letter in blue ink. Those little touches go a long way!

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find my attached résumé for the [insert name of position here] position at [insert name of company here].

I have recently graduated from Florida International University and am excited to start a career in IT. While I have not had the chance to gain work experience yet, all my life I’ve been the go-to person for my family and friends when they’ve experienced computer issues. I’ve also built my own computer and know how to replace hardware and fix software issues. To validate these skills, I have recently become A+ certified and feel confident that I could “hit the ground running” with very minimal training.

I’m very used to working in fast paced environments. My previous experience in the service industry has taught me valuable soft skills such as teamwork, customer service, and how to work with a sense of urgency. I think these skills would serve me well at [insert company name here.]

I’m particularly interested in working for a company like [insert company name here] because [insert reason here. If you need ideas, see the post here where I detail how you would answer the question “why do you want to work here?”]

Should you find that my experience meets your organization’s needs, please do not hesitate to contact me for an interview at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jill Smith

Phone: 123-456-7890

With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. And make sure to check out these top interview questions before you start interviewing!