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Career advancement minute: Writing an effective cover letter

February 15, 2013

Heather Frattone L’98, Penn Law’s Associate Dean for Career Planning and Professionalism highlights how to compose an effective cover letter.



Your cover letter really is your greatest opportunity to convince a prospective employer of why you are the best candidate for the job. It is the most important part of your written applications. As an employer interviewing people, I always look at the cover letter first and if the cover letter doesn’t give me a clear sense of why you’re a good fit for my job, your application goes into a separate pile.

You want to think a lot about what they are looking for - you want to look at the job description; you want to think about matching your language in your cover letter to what they say they are seeking in the job description; and match your skills and experience to that.

You want to think really strategically how your going to link your skills and experience to what that particular employer is looking for. If you are able to do that, your cover letter will go a long way to getting you in the door for an interview. 

Transcript edited for length.