Page 14 of the Cover Letter Tutorial: Sample Excerpts Showcasing College Experience
Making the Most of Your College Experience — Sample Cover Letter Excerpts:
- While pursuing my degree, I have worked on many group projects related to marketing. The most extensive project was a collaboration among team members to implement a marketing strategy for merchandising Guess Jeans in Spain.
In addition to my challenging and competitive academic program, I have taken many courses that directly relate to the consulting profession. In my Small Business Management class, for example, I consulted with a Nassau County law firm. The consulting work included research and presentations and focused on hardware and software selection, marketing, and reengineering.
Note that in this next example, the writer not only describes the information systems he developed as part of his coursework but explains how that experience could benefit the company he’s writing to:
- Dear Mr. Wilson:
Ted Pizzuto suggested I contact you about the accounting position that is available at Baldwin Corporation. He informed me that Baldwin is looking for an applicant who has experience with accounting and computer information systems.
As a student majoring in accounting at the University of Miami, I have gained a great deal of knowledge in the accounting field. I understand that Baldwin wishes to hire someone who can develop an information system to track sales and inventory. During the course of my studies, I have developed several information systems related to customer orders using Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, and Visual Basic.
Observe in the next excellent excerpt how the writer effectively portrays her experience in her sorority as every bit as valid as employment experience:
- My recent experience as director of finance for an organization of 60 individuals and my classroom knowledge as an accounting major would enable me to benefit your company. I am prepared to give professional dedication to all your corporate expectations.
I have successfully completed many assignments at my previous place of voluntary employment, Pi Beta Phi. I worked independently to reconcile bank statements and accounts receivable, billing accounts receivable, prepare accrual journal entries, generate financial statements, create an incentive program, and establish a computerized accounting system. Just as I completed these assigned goals effectively, I will be productive, proficient, and accurate for your company as well.
Note that the next writer uses both her classroom and extracurricular experiences. An accomplishment such as organizing a “Celebrity Baggers” event at a local supermarket might not sound like much, but note the kind of job this young woman seeks. She wants to be an income development manager — a fundraiser — so the ability to convince people to give their time and money is an important skill. She nicely underscores her fundraising abilities in the second paragraph by pointing out her talent for encouraging people to donate money and talents:
- My internship with Blue Cross-Blue Shield has given me the opportunity to fully utilize my marketing skills in the nonprofit business organization. Most importantly I have gained greater insight into the cause of the American Lung Association. I would use the income development manager position to achieve all goals established in the mission statement of your organization.
I have conducted a research study on the motivational behavior of the charitable donors by using communication skills and several computer programs (DataEase, Excel, PowerPoint, and several other business software programs). I have successfully filled a local grocery store with campus faculty to participate in Celebrity Baggers during my first month as an intern.
Finally, I have always been able to enlist the help of students and professors to partake in or donate to philanthropic events occurring on campus. My motivational background, persistence and creativity at work and in the community provides me with the insights needed to be a successful income development manager.
Note in the next letter’s middle paragraphs how the writer blends his academic background, with his work-study experience assisting professors in an academic department demonstrate his qualifications:
- Both my academic and career employment experience have prepared me well for a career in business information systems. My training includes developing, designing, and documenting information systems and decision-support systems. The programming courses I have taken have taught me numerous programming languages, including Java, Perl, Ruby, Visual Basic, and PHP.
My previous employers can affirm that they have entrusted me with major responsibilities and that I have quickly adapted to each of these positions. For example, as a teaching assistant for Lehigh’s Department of Decision and Information Sciences, I manage grade analyses for three professors. I also coordinate the allocation of audio/visual and computer equipment for faculty and student use, and I am developing a decision-support system in Visual Basic to automate the process. In addition, I have designed, programmed, and implemented a management-information system that assists students in targeting prospective employers.
This student uses a combination of examples from her work-study and extracurricular experience to broadcast her talents:
- As a computer lab assistant I gained invaluable hands-on experience in computer software problem-solving and was promoted to assist professors in coordinating and implementing technical software seminars. My effective interaction with the faculty led to my receiving a very prestigious position as co-teacher of a university class designed to orient first-year students with Whitworth University’s campus. I took full responsibility for the theme, syllabus, class discussions, and lectures.
Being elected vice president of membership for my sorority enabled me to plan, delegate, and coordinate the entire recruitment and selection process for new members. After demonstrating my leadership and responsibility in that position, I was elected vice president of administration.
The new grad who wrote the next letter responded to an ad that listed discretion, good organization, communication skills and the ability to work with minimal supervision as desired qualifications in the human-resources assistant position available. Note how the writer uses his extracurricular experience to show that he meets these qualifications:
- My recent success as president of Alpha Tau Omega demonstrates my leadership ability and communication skills. As head of the organization, I have been accustomed to working with little or no supervision. In my dealings with the fraternity, I have learned the value of secrecy and confidentiality. Further, I have proven that I am a well-organized, responsible, and reliable individual who excels at working under pressure.
The writers of the next letters also make good use of extracurricular experiences:
- I have learned financial, managerial, and program-development skills through my extracurricular experiences. In addition, I have developed excellent interpersonal skills, which enable me to communicate effectively. I work well with others, and I would like to be a part of your team.
While attending college, I dedicated considerable time and energy toward revitalizing AIESEC, a non-profit international student-run business organization that matches highly motivated students with paid internships to companies seeking international resources. Being part of AIESEC allowed me to share my passion for international travel by transferring the same interest and excitement I felt as a traveler to others by increasing their international exposure. This combination of international exposure and academic standing, as illustrated by my resume, makes me an ideal acquisition for Pan-Pacific Consultants.
Seeking an internship with a radio station, the next writer draws on relevant experience on campus:
- This year, as a junior at Barnard College, I have become involved in a concert promotion project co-sponsored by our marketing and music departments. This project has given me the opportunity to work closely with various aspects of the marketing field.
The next writers do a good job of connecting their extracurricular activities to specific skills that can apply to the jobs they seek:
- My current success as vice president of public relations for Student Ambassadors demonstrates my leadership ability and communication skills. I plan and organize Open Houses for prospective students and their parents, as well as create and publish an information sheet about the organization and its members. Holding the position of vice president of membership for the student chapter of the American Marketing Association further emphasizes my effectiveness in marketing and public relations.
As the coordinator of a tutoring program for disadvantaged youth, I have developed my organizational and communication skills, as well as my determination and solid work ethic. The same skills that aided me in recruiting 115 new volunteers for service projects this year make me a valuable asset for your organization.
The combination of classroom experience in accounting and my upbeat attitude can only benefit your company.
My experience demonstrates my motivation, leadership ability, communication skills, and ability to work well with people. I planned and organized a fundraising project that raised $10,000 for Sussex County local charities. I also coordinated service projects for all members in my organization.
This writer combines academic experience with extracurriculars and nicely outlines applicable accomplishments in both areas:
- I have spent the last four years studying business at Western Washington University, where I have maintained a 3.2 GPA. These years have provided me with a good business background and have sparked my interest in the underwriting and claims aspects of insurance.
Although a college student, I am not a typical undergraduate. I am a highly motivated self-starter. I established a house-painting business to help pay part of the cost of college. This experience taught me to work as hard as I can to achieve my goals. As rush chairman of my fraternity, I was motivated to make my organization the best. While only eight new members were initiated the year before I took office, 22 new members pledged when I held the position. Nationals recognized this accomplishment when we received a special award for recruitment. I have the maturity and the drive to similarly benefit your organization.
Although the next writer neglects to mention anything about his academic background, he does a nice job of describing how his college baseball career and other extracurricular activities have given him the skills he needs for his chosen field:
- My successful background as a starting pitcher for a highly competitive baseball program, along with my involvement in various team-based activities, would make me an ideal candidate for a position in human-resource management.
As a third-year member of the University of Florida’s baseball team, I have participated in various volunteer projects, such as home improvement in the community and fundraising activities for the baseball program. I have also conducted baseball camps for local children that involved leadership and training skills.
With my experience, skills, and interest in management, I would be an immediate benefit to your organization. I could bring supervisory and leadership skills to your team, having successfully motivated individuals and coordinated their activities.
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