McGraw Hill regularly sponsors a webinar series on the college to career transition, which aligns with a lot of the work I do. To see the offerings, follow this link. I will be presenting “Developing Your Cover Letter and Elevator Pitch” on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 7:00 EST (6:00 CST).
My brief presentation will focus on the essentials of cover letters and elevator pitches. No matter where you are in your job search, this session will dive into the kinds of details you should share in the form of a cover letter and the importance of crafting and practicing a few pitches about yourself.
Cover letters are an opportunity to tell some stories that are unique to you and to engage in a narrative form (to contrast with the short, skimmable phrases you must use in your resume).
There is no template you can use to have an effective cover letter–it has to be unique to you (please don’t use the fill-in-the-blank cover letters you can find on the internet).
Find job ads in your field of interest and craft anecdotes from your own experience that tie to some of the main qualifications.
And always find a way to make it ‘about them’–the industry, the organization, the specific job–in order to show how you meet their needs or solve their problems (a bad sign is a cover letter with “I” or “My” as the first word of each and every paragraph).
In the April 16th webinar, I will provide some specific examples of what these cover letter paragraphs might look like.
The elevator pitch (or personal branding statement or STAR technique) is all about being prepared to summarize your entire career or job search in 2-3 sentences.
To have a compelling pitch that leaves people wanting more information, you have to plan and practice. It requires moving away from “I am a…” or “I want to do X” to a concise description of your primary assets, value added, problems you solve, needs you meet.
Once again, you see how it is about you in the sense of describing the problems you solve and the needs you meet, but that it is essential to frame it in terms of the potential employer’s unmet needs and unsolved problems.
Hope to “see” some of you at the webinar on April 16th.
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in job search documents, interview preparation, and academic documents. She is the author of “Integrating Career Preparation into Language Courses” from Georgetown University Press. For help customizing your job application documents and navigating your career transition, contact Darcy: firstname.lastname@example.org