Length of cover letters?

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omegaweapon

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Length of cover letters?

Postby omegaweapon » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:27 pm

I had always heard the common wisdom that a cover letter should contain about a paragraph of information about the employer, and a paragraph about your qualifications. My career services office says that this is no longer true, and suggested a page long format with 3 paragraphs about my qualifications. Is this a good idea, or more questionable advice from career services?

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rpupkin

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Re: Length of cover letters?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:51 pm

omegaweapon wrote:I had always heard the common wisdom that a cover letter should contain about a paragraph of information about the employer, and a paragraph about your qualifications. My career services office says that this is no longer true, and suggested a page long format with 3 paragraphs about my qualifications. Is this a good idea, or more questionable advice from career services?

The latter.

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Re: Length of cover letters?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:55 pm

omegaweapon wrote:I had always heard the common wisdom that a cover letter should contain about a paragraph of information about the employer, and a paragraph about your qualifications. My career services office says that this is no longer true, and suggested a page long format with 3 paragraphs about my qualifications. Is this a good idea, or more questionable advice from career services?


I think somewhere in the middle is the correct answer. I'd suggest googling some "cover letter guides." I sometimes through T14 names into the google search to ensure I'm getting quality results.

I would say this is how your CL should look:
P1 - What you want (I'm a 2L applying for..) and a bit of why you want it (I'm particularly attracted to [firm] for it's...). I threw geographic ties in here as well (As a [x] native, I look forward to returning....)

P2 - about you (unless public interest/govt). I made this paragraph about research and writing skills, detailing some projects I worked on and emphasizing the skills they helped me build.

P3 - another about you paragraph. I made this about the soft skills I learned. (anticipating different paths, working with missing information, developing better legal judgment, etc)

P4 - closing.

Interficio

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Re: Length of cover letters?

Postby Interficio » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:04 pm

Here's the kindergarten-level semi-pneumonic that my HYS career services office gave us (yes, really)

P1 - Hey, it's me
P2 - I love you
P3 - You should love me back
P4 - let's go on a date

which basically means:

P1 - state who you are and what you're looking for
P2 - why are you interested in firm X
P3 - how do your qualifications relate to what firm x does and what you like about the firm
P4 - some short valediction about looking forward to hearing back or arranging an interview.

P1 and P4 are super short, maybe two sentences for the former and one sentence for the latter. P2 and P3 are the meat, but should still be 4 sentences tops. You don't need a full page



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