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Cover Letters


DISCOVER THE PURPOSE

Look at the purpose of a cover letter this way-you have written your resume to represent WHO YOU ARE and a hiring manager creates a job posting to display the NEEDS OF A COMPANY. A cover letter TIES THE TWO TOGETHER and affords you the opportunity to highlight how you can apply your past experience, skills and abilities to the position for which you’re applying.

 

TIPS TO EMBRACE

  • Communicate why you want to work for that SPECIFIC company. Hiring managers don’t want to see a generic cover letter that can just be sent to every company within your field.
  • Address your Cover Letter to a person. Don’t have a name? Use LinkedIn to conduct company research and find someone with the title “Hiring Manager.” They’ll notice the effort.
  • Tell a story that’s not on your resume. What brings you to that company and how does it incorporate your passion and what you’d like to do with your life?
  • Focus on the positive and what you can do to address the company’s needs. Make sure you avoid boastfulness, exaggeration, and inconsistency.

 

FORMATTING BASICS

  • Follow the format of a standard professional letter.
  • Type the letter and keep it to 1 page.
  • Use the same font and header as your resume.
  • Proofread to avoid typos and look at your sentence openings to ensure they vary and don’t all start with the word “I.”
  • If you’re emailing your documents, incorporate the job title in the email’s subject line.

START WITH RESEARCH

You already have a resume, so now it’s time to learn more about the company and their needs in order to write your COVER LETTER.

 

RESEARCH THE COMPANY

  • Explore a company’s mission statement and goals by checking out the company website.
  • Make use of LinkedIn company pages to gain information on what is going on in that company and their latest achievements.
  • Visit the conduct company research tab for more info on how to make the most of company research.

 

ANALYZE THE JOB DESCRIPTION

  • Read the job description thoroughly and highlight the required qualifications and job responsibilities.
  • Contemplate how your experiences, skills and coursework translate over to what the company needs.
  • Avoid focusing on yourself. The company doesn’t want to know what you’ll gain from working for them. They want to know what you can do for them.

COVER LETTER BREAKDOWN

Explore the COVER LETTER breakdown below to learn the guidelines for writing a cover letter and how they can be applied.

 

1

FORMAT HEADER & SAY HELLO

HEADER: Display your name, address, phone number and email address in the same format as your resume.

DATE: Include the date you print and mail (or email) the letter.

RECIPIENT'S NAME & ADDRESS: Left-aligned align this information and include an individual’s name if possible.

SALUTATION: Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name (if you’re unsure of the recipient’s gender or you want to be gender neutral, write their full name).

 

2

INTRODUCE YOURSELF & WHAT YOU WANT

  • Immediately state the position for which you are applying and how you heard about it. If you are not applying for a specific position, indicate your area of interest.
  • Mention if you were referred by someone (like an alumni or other contact).
  • Introduce yourself by stating your major and anticipated graduation date.
  • Mention why you find the company/organization compelling and why you want to work for them.

 

3

DESCRIBE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS & WHAT YOU WOULD BRING

  • Point out the relevant skills you have developed through your coursework and experiences in order to show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the position.
  • Expand on the experiences that support you are a “match” for the position. Use keywords from the job description if possible.
  • Describe how you would apply the skills and knowledge you gained from your experiences to the position for which you are applying.

 

4

WRAP IT UP & SAY THANKS

  • Thank the employer for their time and consideration.
  • Offer to provide any additional information.
  • Provide your email and phone number in the last sentence.

End your letter with:

Sincerely,

Your signature (leave 3 -4 spaces)

Your Typed Name

 

 Check out the CCO Handbook for more cover letter tips

WHAT IS MyCCO?

MyCCO is where Purdue University students and alumni search and apply for internships and full-time positions, schedule interviews, and see what companies are coming to campus for career fairs and information sessions.

HOW DO I ACCESS MY ACCOUNT?

If you are a current student, simply click the Login button to the left and enter your Purdue login and password.

HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF MY ACCOUNT?

Edit Profile Privacy to be included in Resume Books and receive emails from myCCO.

Resume Books are a feature of myCCO that allow employers to pull resumes from students who meet the criteria of a position they are looking to fill.  When you say Yes to Resume Books in the Privacy section in your Account Settings, you have more opportunities to have your resume seen by employers.

Upload Your Resume, Cover Letter, and Transcript

Your myCCO account will not be active until you upload a resume

  1. Click on “Resumes ETC” on the left side navigation bar
    2. Select “Add New”
    3. Add a descriptive label to help you remember each document. Employers will not be able to see the label.
    4. Select your document type. Use “Other Documents” for your transcript.

Search and Apply for Jobs & On-Campus Interviews
1. Click on “Jobs” on the left side navigation bar.

  1. Click on “Discover.”
    3. Use the search bar and the “More Filters” search options to find job postings relevant you.
  2. Click the “Apply” button and submit the required documents. If you see you are Not Qualified, it means you do not meet all screening criteria, including major, degree, graduation date, and work authorization.
    Note: Read the job posting carefully as the employer may also refer you to the company website to apply.

Create Job Alert
1. Using the My Filters dropdown, select your criteria and click “Apply.”
2. Click “Create Job Alert”
3. You can then go to the “Job Alerts” located under the Search key to see all of your saved searches and select how often you would like to receive emails with your alerts. You can    also delete job alerts.

 

WHAT ELSE COMES WITH MyCCO ACCOUNT?

From the myCCO Desktop, select the “Resources” tab for access to additional resources that are exclusive to Purdue student:

  1. Career Spots Videos is a virtual library of various careers and expert advice from professionals on how to find a job and internship.
  2. Career Explorer uses U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online to learn more about careers
  3. Career Finder helps you find out what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work.
  4. Diligence Lab helps you know what your online presence says about you to possible future employers.
  5. Mergent Online Database offers a wealth of textual detail on companies
  6. Career Beam is a full service career development portal designed to provide all the resources necessary to guide individuals through the strategic job search process and achieve their career goals.
  7. Big Interview helps you learn and practice your interview skills whether you are interviewing for a job or graduate school.
  8. Versatile PhD is an online resource to help graduate students and PhDs in all fields identify, prepare for, and succeed in non-academic careers.
  9. JobNow provides you with practical tools to help you get a job.
  10. Ascend Indiana is a catalyst across industry sectors to help connect the supply of skilled talent to demand from Indiana employers.
  11. MBA Exchange is a job search tool dedicated to business school students and alumni with global coverage.

Have questions? Please contact the CCO at askcco@purdue.edu.

I agree to:

Accurate Information: Certify my job search documents to be truthful and accurate

Grant Access: Allow CCO to provide my job search documents to prospective employers

Honor Commitments: Keep all appointments that I've scheduled with employers and CCO Staff

Genuine Interest: Sign up for interviews with only employers with whom I'm interested in working

Professional Conduct: Accept an offer of employment in good faith and immediately notify employers of acceptance or non-acceptance of the offer. Withdraw from interviewing process and no longer pursue positions with other employers

Report Suspicious Inqueries: Understand that job seekers can be deceived by organizations posing as legitimate employers. Evidence of this behavior includes requests for personal information (i.e. social security numbers or credit card numbers) and requests for money. If you're suspicious of such an organization, do not respond to them and please share details with us at askcco@purdue.edu

Consequences for Non-Compliance: Accept that failure to adhere to any point in this agreement may result in the removal of my interview privileges in the Center for Career Opportunities

The CCO agrees to:

Provide Services: Assist you with your career decision-making and job search activities

Access of Information: Provide access to a range of career opportunities and types of employers

Non-Discrimination: Provide access and reasonable accommodations to prospective employers without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability

Protect Confidentiality: Exercise sound judgment and fairness in maintaining your confidentiality

Student Advocacy: Respond to employer EEO non-compliance concerns and unethical behavior. Follow-up with those posting suspicious vacancies, when possible, and consult with students and alumni affected by this dubious behavior

On-campus Interviewing: Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy

If you must miss an interview, you are required to cancel it in advance. When you fail to cancel your interviews in a timely fashion or do not appear for your interviews, your actions reflect poorly on you as an individual and on the University as a whole. Not only do you inconvenience the employer, but you may also deprive another student of a valuable interview opportunity. These situations, if unchecked may also have more serious implications on the University's relationships with employers overall.

Therefore, the Center for Career Opportunities treats these incidents very seriously and advises you to take special note of the following Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy.

Interview Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellations will NOT be accepted via email or voice mail.
  • Students must appear in person in Young 132 to complete paper work before an interview can be cancelled
  • Students are required to give three business days or 72 hours notice to cancel an interview
  • Always investigate an alternate date with the employer before you cancel an interview
  • It is your responsibility to speak personally with the employer representative and explain why you will not be attending the interview. Be aware, however that the employer may still report you to the CCO
  • If you cancel an appointment directly with an employer, remember to also contact the CCO
  • Regional Campus Students ( Purdue Calumet, IUPUI, Purdue North Central and IUPU Ft Wayne ) are required to work through their Regional Career Services office to cancel interviews. The Regional Campus Liaison will forward the information regarding the cancellation

Sudden Illness or Serious Personal Emergency on Interview Day

  • Students are expected to contact the CCO (765) 494 - 3981 prior to their interview time. Employers check-in between 8 and 8:30 AM and should be notified prior to that time

Employers typically are not in the office on weekends. Monday appointments should be cancelled no later than Friday morning.

If you miss an interview:

  • Your myCCO account will be locked
  • You will receive an e-mail from CCO with instructions to come to Young 132 immediately to resolve this matter
  • You will be required to meet with a walk-in counselor and discuss the reason you missed the business appointment to which you committed
  • The discussion and your reason for missing the interview will determine whether or not your file will be reactivated and if you will have the opportunity to use myCCO in the future.

What is myCCO?

MyCCO is where Purdue University students and alumni search and apply for internships and full-time positions, schedule interviews, and see what companies are coming to campus for career fairs and information sessions.

How can myCCO help me?

Employers posting jobs, internships, and other opportunities on myCCO want YOU. Using the myCCO service allows you to take advantage of Purdue University’s reputation and vast network of industry connections.

How do I get a myCCO account?

  1. As a first time user enter your PUID as both your user name and password.(NOTE: the first 2 digits MUST be a double zero (00) even if they're not included in your current PUID. For example: 0012345678). Your PUID (with the double zero) will always be your username to log in to myCCO. Once you have completed your myCCO profile, the system will send an email with your "NEW" password.
  2. Read the “Participation Agreement” and “Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy” before clicking “I Agree to Terms.”
  3. Complete all required fields when completing your profile.

* If you need to request your PU-ID: Click here to submit the Alumni PU-ID Request form and the CCO will respond to your request within 3-5 business days. 

HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF MY ACCOUNT?

Edit Profile Privacy to be included in Resume Books and receive emails from myCCO.

Resume Books are a feature of myCCO that allow employers to pull resumes from students who meet the criteria of a position they are looking to fill.  When you say Yes to Resume Books in the Privacy section in your Account Settings, you have more opportunities to have your resume seen by employers.

Upload Your Resume, Cover Letter, and Transcript

Your myCCO account will not be active until you upload a resume

  1. Click on “Resumes ETC” on the left side navigation bar
    2. Select “Add New”
    3. Add a descriptive label to help you remember each document. Employers will not be able to see the label.
    4. Select your document type. Use “Other Documents” for your transcript.

Search and Apply for Jobs & On-Campus Interviews
1. Click on “Jobs” on the left side navigation bar.

  1. Click on “Discover.”
    3. Use the search bar and the “More Filters” search options to find job postings relevant you.
  2. Click the “Apply” button and submit the required documents. If you see you are Not Qualified, it means you do not meet all screening criteria, including major, degree, graduation date, and work authorization.
    Note: Read the job posting carefully as the employer may also refer you to the company website to apply.

Create Job Alert
1. Using the My Filters dropdown, select your criteria and click “Apply.”
2. Click “Create Job Alert”
3. You can then go to the “Job Alerts” located under the Search key to see all of your saved searches and select how often you would like to receive emails with your alerts. You can    also delete job alerts.

 

WHAT ELSE COMES WITH MyCCO ACCOUNT?

From the myCCO Desktop, select the “Resources” tab for access to additional resources that are exclusive to Purdue student:

  1. Career Spots Videos is a virtual library of various careers and expert advice from professionals on how to find a job and internship.
  2. Career Explorer uses U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online to learn more about careers
  3. Career Finder helps you find out what your interests are and how they relate to the world of work.
  4. Diligence Lab helps you know what your online presence says about you to possible future employers.
  5. Mergent Online Database offers a wealth of textual detail on companies
  6. Career Beam is a full service career development portal designed to provide all the resources necessary to guide individuals through the strategic job search process and achieve their career goals.
  7. Big Interview helps you learn and practice your interview skills whether you are interviewing for a job or graduate school.
  8. Versatile PhD is an online resource to help graduate students and PhDs in all fields identify, prepare for, and succeed in non-academic careers.
  9. JobNow provides you with practical tools to help you get a job.
  10. Ascend Indiana is a catalyst across industry sectors to help connect the supply of skilled talent to demand from Indiana employers.
  11. MBA Exchange is a job search tool dedicated to business school students and alumni with global coverage.

Have questions? Please contact the CCO at askcco@purdue.edu.

 

I agree to:

Accurate Information: Certify my job search documents to be truthful and accurate

Grant Access: Allow CCO to provide my job search documents to prospective employers

Honor Commitments: Keep all appointments that I've scheduled with employers and CCO Staff

Genuine Interest: Sign up for interviews with only employers with whom I'm interested in working

Professional Conduct: Accept an offer of employment in good faith and immediately notify employers of acceptance or non-acceptance of the offer. Withdraw from interviewing process and no longer pursue positions with other employers

Report Suspicious Inqueries: Understand that job seekers can be deceived by organizations posing as legitimate employers. Evidence of this behavior includes requests for personal information (i.e. social security numbers or credit card numbers) and requests for money. If you're suspicious of such an organization, do not respond to them and please share details with us at askcco@purdue.edu

Consequences for Non-Compliance: Accept that failure to adhere to any point in this agreement may result in the removal of my interview privileges in the Center for Career Opportunities

The CCO agrees to:

Provide Services: Assist you with your career decision-making and job search activities

Access of Information: Provide access to a range of career opportunities and types of employers

Non-Discrimination: Provide access and reasonable accommodations to prospective employers without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability

Protect Confidentiality: Exercise sound judgment and fairness in maintaining your confidentiality

Student Advocacy: Respond to employer EEO non-compliance concerns and unethical behavior. Follow-up with those posting suspicious vacancies, when possible, and consult with students and alumni affected by this dubious behavior

On-campus Interviewing: Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy

If you must miss an interview, you are required to cancel it in advance. When you fail to cancel your interviews in a timely fashion or do not appear for your interviews, your actions reflect poorly on you as an individual and on the University as a whole. Not only do you inconvenience the employer, but you may also deprive another student of a valuable interview opportunity. These situations, if unchecked may also have more serious implications on the University's relationships with employers overall.

Therefore, the Center for Career Opportunities treats these incidents very seriously and advises you to take special note of the following Cancellation and Missed Interview Policy.

Interview Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellations will NOT be accepted via email or voice mail.
  • Students must appear in person in Young 132 to complete paper work before an interview can be cancelled
  • Students are required to give three business days or 72 hours notice to cancel an interview
  • Always investigate an alternate date with the employer before you cancel an interview
  • It is your responsibility to speak personally with the employer representative and explain why you will not be attending the interview. Be aware, however that the employer may still report you to the CCO
  • If you cancel an appointment directly with an employer, remember to also contact the CCO
  • Regional Campus Students ( Purdue Calumet, IUPUI, Purdue North Central and IUPU Ft Wayne ) are required to work through their Regional Career Services office to cancel interviews. The Regional Campus Liaison will forward the information regarding the cancellation

Sudden Illness or Serious Personal Emergency on Interview Day

  • Students are expected to contact the CCO (765) 494 - 3981 prior to their interview time. Employers check-in between 8 and 8:30 AM and should be notified prior to that time

Employers typically are not in the office on weekends. Monday appointments should be cancelled no later than Friday morning.

If you miss an interview:

  • Your myCCO account will be locked
  • You will receive an e-mail from CCO with instructions to come to Young 132 immediately to resolve this matter
  • You will be required to meet with a walk-in counselor and discuss the reason you missed the business appointment to which you committed
  • The discussion and your reason for missing the interview will determine whether or not your file will be reactivated and if you will have the opportunity to use myCCO in the future.