A few years back, I developed roaming researchers. For some odd reason, my website has gone offline. In that, I wrote about how to write a cover letter. I am pasting the content of that article here. Please peruse:
A Cover Letter
In today’s lesson, we shall learn how to write a cover letter for your job application. A cover letter is an important part of your job application. Many employers want you to submit a cover letter along with your curriculum vitae as you apply for a job to their companies. A cover letter is a facade of your job application which employers often seek to glean an idea about your personality. In other wards, it is a reflection not only of your job application but also of your personality as a whole. In today’s competitive environment it is quite common for employers to solicit cover letters written specifically for the job they have announced. Normally the employers are looking for a personal touch.
So, first of all, we shall look at the various components of a cover letter and analyze them in detail. But before we do that we request you to download the following book on your computer so that you can read it for the next few days. In the upcoming lectures, we shall try to reflect on its importance and also its relevance with a company like Stratfor which is indeed not a software development company. So let’s revert back to our practice of writing a cover letter.
A cover letter…..
A cover letter normally has between three to four paragraphs and does not exceed beyond a single page. It is important to know what sort of information needs to be written in each of the four paragraphs as this would ease your process of writing not only a single cover letter but multiple targeted cover letters for many jobs. So here is how we think that the various paragraphs of a typical cover letter should look like.
First Paragraph: This is also called as the opening paragraph. In this paragraph, you supply information about yourself and about the job you are applying for very briefly. It is very important that you research the company you are applying for so that you have enough information and reasons as to why you are applying for a job to that particular company. Having that information in mind, the task of writing a cover letter would become a lot easier. So begin this paragraph by shortly introducing yourself and the position you are applying for. It is normally also expected that you write in the cover letter how you came to know about a job. Write about the source of your information about the job opening in your cover letter in this paragraph as well.
So as a result, your the opening paragraph of your cover letter might start to look somewhat like this:
I am writing this to you in response to a research position in your institution. I came to know about the position through a writing and editing job that you have advertised on Linkedin. I am a motivated researcher and a computer scientist who is willing to work on an interesting and challenging problem. My research interests are diverse and I would like to work in a multidisciplinary area that is related to Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics.
The Second Paragraph: Use the second paragraph to describe yourself in a little bit more detail. The information you provide here could be about your academic and/or professional background. The information you provide here should also be relevant to the nature of the job or position you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a research position in a department of computer science in a university or a telecommunications research and development organization, your second paragraph might look somewhat like this.
I completed my undergraduate studies from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan in 2013 in computer science. Recently I have been working as a software developer with Confiz solutions, a renowned software house in the suburbs of Lahore. My undergraduate student project was to develop and deploy a routing protocol for wireless sensor networks that should be both efficient and computationally cheap to operate. I am also well versed with various digital signal processing, image processing, video processing and various machine learning algorithms. This is also reflected in my CV and in a couple of my publications.
The Third Paragraph: Dedicate the third paragraph to writing about why you think that you are such a nice fit to the job opening. You can do this by reflecting slightly on the nature of the job opening. This would give a good impression as it would give an idea to the employer that you have an idea about the kind of work that may be expected in the job you are applying for. The second thing you can do is to draw a small correlation between the nature of the job and your academic/professional background. This would be really nice as it would give your employer an idea as to how you can be a good fit for the nature of the job. So this paragraph could look somewhat like this:
In your job advertisement, you have announced that you are looking for a person with a bent for research and development in the area of communication networks. Given my academic background, I believe that I can be a very good fit for the job opening. I also think that you would also find my application befitting for this position.
The Fourth Paragraph: This is also called the closing paragraph. People usually use this paragraph to invite the employer to get a little bit closer to them. Actually, this is a courteous way of being invited for an interview. You can use this paragraph to ask the employer to solicit further information if needed. You can also share your contact details with them, or direct them to where they can find your contact details. And then you conclude. So this paragraph may look somewhat like this:
You can find my CV on Linkedin (provide a link) and also on my personal website (provide a link again). On my personal website, you can also have a quick read at my statement of research interests and various research proposals that I have written. You can also download a copy of my CV from the last link. I can also send you a copy of my CV upon your request.
This is pretty much all about writing a cover letter. Finally, the letter ends, like any other letter, with a name in the footer area, which is of course yours.
So today’s assignment is to write a cover letter as part of a job application. And you have to write it in Latex. But don’t worry. You can find a variety of Latex templates for writing cover letters on the Internet. All you have to do is to fill in the relevant fields and compile it. In a few seconds, you find your cover letter ready. But please proofread your cover letter for spelling and grammatical mistakes. It should simply be free of any mistakes. It should also not exceed one page. You can keep the source latex file along with the resulting PDF with you to apply for jobs. And please do not forget to submit your cover letter as your assignment. We need to grade you on the basis of that.
And do not forget to read this book after this lesson. You will have complete assignments based on this in one of the next lectures.
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