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- The University of Chicago The Law School
- Résumés, Cover Letters & Thank Yous
Sample Cover Letters Samples are provided at the following links.
Please use them as guides only. It should almost never be longer than one page. The cover letter is meant to sell the applicant to potential employers — the letter should be engaging, professional, and positive at the same time. The cover letter also allows the applicant to demonstrate his or her writing and editing skills.
Cover letters must be perfect. Consider this your first writing sample. Many staff members may review your letter during the hiring process and any errors will be found. There are two types of cover letters: letters of application and letters of inquiry. A letter of application is written to apply to a specific opening.
A letter of inquiry is written to explore potential employment opportunities.
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For example, you may desire to work for a large downtown firm that does not have a position posted or advertised. You can send a letter of inquiry, stating your interest in future openings.
Customizing Your Letters Create an individualized cover letter that is targeted to the employer. This is time-consuming, but well worth the effort. Give the employer exactly what they are looking for. Cover letters should address the qualities requested in the posting, if there is one. Do not simply list the experiences from your resume. The cover letter is your opportunity to tie together your experiences in a comprehensive way to explain why you are a good fit for that particular employer. Application materials addressed to the appropriate person make your letter look more like an important piece of correspondence and less like junk mail.
If you have a geographic link to the city where the employer is located, make that very clear in your cover letter. This is especially true of firms outside of major cities.
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Structure 1. Letterhead Prepare personal letterhead using the same format and information as that used in the heading of your legal resume.
The University of Chicago The Law School
Use professional grade resume paper for both your resume and cover letter. Introductory Paragraph If you have a connection to the employer, identify the connection in your opening sentence. Middle Paragraphs Demonstrate your knowledge of the employer and identify reasons you are applying.
Closing Paragraph Summarize your letter, and point the reader toward your resume.
Résumés, Cover Letters & Thank Yous
Addressee's Name Addressee's Title if necessary; e. Opening Paragraph : Explain who you are and why you are writing the letter. Include where you go to law school, what year you are or when you will graduate, the position for which you are applying and what specifically interests you in the position. Do NOT say "My name is Body of the Letter one or two short paragraphs : This is the place to highlight your actual and transferable skills that are relevant to the position for which you are applying.
For certain cover letters clinics, public interest organizations, etc.