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Job Search and Cover Letter Assignment

Purpose of the Cover Letter

Job applicants often work hard on their résumés but treat application or cover letters as an after thought, or don’t write one at all. It’s important to distinguish your application with a persuasive cover letter, even if the job posting doesn’t ask applicants to include one.

(1) Introducing and contextualizing the information in the resume

(2) Highlighting your strengths, skill sets and work experience in terms of benefits to the reader – i.e., the employer;

(3) Getting you an interview. The cover letter is therefore an important example of persuasive communication.

(1) An opening that introduces the message and identifies the position,

(2) Body paragraphs that sell the candidate and speak to the position

(3) A closing that requests an interview and motivates action.

Your task is to find a real job description or advertisement for a job or internship in a field or sector of your choice. This could be a job or internship that you might want to apply for now or an ideal position that you could see yourself applying for upon graduation. You could also write an application letter for a real-life work experience or exchange program in your faculty or department. Use whatever job search website you prefer to find the posting: as a starting point, here are several on-campus and off-campus Job Search options.

Write a cover letter for this position, based on your current education and work/volunteer experience, that outlines your skill sets and promotes yourself to the reader. Frame the language to stress reader benefits, and yourself as a potential employee who will add specific strengths to the organization. Use elements of persuasive communication, including rhetorical appeals, to convince the reader that you are the ideal fit.

Use active verbs to describe your work experience and contributions to date. Avoid the overuse of the word “I,” especially at the start of sentences, and try not to overemphasize your student status –i.e. focus on what you have learned to date rather than on what you are still learning. You can consult your current résumé but do not need to attach it. Edit and proofread the letter. This is the employer’s first impression of you and your excellent communication skills, so the content should be error-free!

Attach the job posting or ad so that your instructor can see how well you have tailored the content to the requirements outlined for the position. The job posting or ad should be pasted or merged into the same file as the cover letter, or included as a link with your submission. If you include a link, make sure the posting won’t expire before the end of term.

Letter format, using address blocks with appropriate contact information (see below). There are examples of letter format with address blocks in the textbook.

1-page single spaced, 12-point font with 1-inch margins and appropriate line breaks and white space.

Write a draft of the cover letter to be shared with classmates for peer feedback on Oct 28. For the final submission, combine the letter and job description or ad as one file (PDF is the most reliable) and submit to D2L in the Assignment folder.

10% (5% deduction if the job posting or advertisement is not included)

If the employer’s contact information is not provided in the posting, look for an appropriate address on their website. If there is a contact name or title, this information should appear in the letter. If not, use ‘To whom it may concern’ as a salutation.

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