Judging a Book by its Cover (Letter)

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Cover Letters – what even are they?? Cover letters are so weird – you literally write a letter to a company about how great you are so that way they can hopefully employ you and give you money. But when you think about it, it’s really no different from the same “letter” we had to write to get into Berkeley. Cover letters are basically personal statements for a company. Each one is personal and made to get into something. That being said, cover letters are different in that they convey why the connection between you and a company makes so much sense. To convey this, there are four “links” that help build the flow to make this connection work.

Link 1 – How did you find out about this position? What attracts you?

  • If it was an info session, a friend, or even scrolling on Handshake, contextualize how you found out about the position. Now what interests you about it? Do you have previous similar experience? Do you have a passion for that field? Did you meet someone from the company that really recommended it you? (Hint – mention that person here)

Link 2 – Why are you qualified?

  • This part is probably the part that will remain most similar throughout your cover letters, unless you’re applying to positions that are super different from each other. Here you will expand on experiences you mention in your resume and focus on the projects you worked on / what skills you gained from those experiences. Use the job description to figure out what skills you should be highlighting! Feel free to use their own language!

Link 3 – Why them? Why you? Why together?

  • This part is more about the company. Why do you want to work for them? What stands out? Why are YOU a good fit for them? How will you benefit the company? How will they benefit you? This part is where you can make it personal – maybe you have something really important tied to this position / field or you’ve always dreamed about working with them or they can help you get closer to your dreams. Regardless, demonstrating that you have passion and an interest in the company is the point of this part.

Link 4 – The End

  • This is the end – pretty standard. Ask for an interview to further discuss your qualifications, talk about the position, etc.

These four links connect together to create a story by you featuring this company / job. Even if the four links don’t work for you, remember that cover letters are personal. Sending out the same cover letter to each position may help you apply to more positions in a shorter amount of time, but it won’t elicit the same amount of responses. Companies know when we send out a general cover letter that just swaps out address information. If you can’t spend an hour writing something for this position, are you that serious? – thoughts recruiters may think of seeing a general, un-personalized cover letter. I know it’s time-consuming – I get it. But like everything else in life, with practice, it’ll get easier. Good luck on your job search and I hope this helped lessen that job stress just a little less. 🙂

Alex Rodriguez

Peer Advisor


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