In this article, we’ll cut straight to the chase and explain what graduate employers want from a cover letter, why they want it and how to deliver. By the end you’ll be able to write targeted cover letters with purpose, which will help you land your dream graduate job.
They’re looking for a quick description of how you could fit their company. They don’t want a comprehensive essay on why each applicant is amazing.
At the least, it’s a good way to gauge who understands the position and who doesn’t. At best, it’s a way to determine potential interview candidates.
The perfect cover letter is all about two things.
If your letter is easy to read, it’s easier to get through. Graduate employers could be sifting through hundreds of these, so making it easy for them is optimal. Let’s go through a generic accounting job advert.
“Jane Blogs Accounting is looking for an ambitious, results-oriented graduate to join their growing, industry leading team as a commercial analyst.
In this microcosm of a job advert, we can observe two important things that our structure will incorporate:
Open with your name, address and relevant contact information, with your potential employer’s information afterward. Address them with ‘dear [name]’ if possible. If you’re throwing your application into an automated process with no clear face, feel free to either do some digging to find their HR people or simply use “To Whom It May Concern:” (sic). Your opening sentence should then clarify which graduate job you’re going for, or what ad you’re responding to.
“Dear Ms Blogs,
I saw your posting for the position of commercial analyst and think I’m an ideal candidate. My resume is attached for your consideration.”
In this case, you’ll next want to assert why you’re results-oriented and ambitious. Tell them why you’re capable of budget analysis, identifying bottlenecks and improving spending procedures. Feel free to use dot points for brevity, keeping each point to a sentence.
“There are several reasons why I believe I’m well-suited.
Take note of how experience is referenced here. Where you placed in the competition, how well you did in a course or the details of extracurricular activities are superfluous. That can be brought up in the job interview. A cover letter is what you write to get their attention. I have this because of that. I know this because of that. Done. It’s easily digestible and ticks all their boxes. If you don’t have any quick experiences to point at, feel free to collapse this process even further. A casual mention of how your coursework contributes to an understanding of their requirements is the next best thing. An alternative you could use:
“I’m well versed in spending procedures, budget analysis, making project recommendations and removing bottlenecks because my coursework required it. I’d greatly appreciate the chance to develop further by making meaningful contributions to Jane Blogs Accounting.”
Not as effective admittedly, but gets the job done. Whichever style you choose, your next paragraph should be the sell. Thank them for their time and say you look forward to hearing back. You may also offer to call them later to clarify any points of interest if you’re feeling bold. Finish with a kind sign-off and you’re square.
“Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you! I’ll call you later next week and we can discuss any particulars you might like clarified.
You should now have a much better idea of how to format your cover letters and give graduate employers what they want to see. Now that you’ve got a good idea of what needs doing, why not browse some choice grad positions right here on GradNewZealand? Each position has something great to offer, but it’s on you to find which company fits you best and vice versa. Good luck!