The Job Seeker's Guide: How Effective is Your Cover Letter?

Between having X amount of work experience and brushing up on those interview skills, there lies one important factor in landing that first meeting with HR: An Effective Cover Letter. It’s known as the prelude before the resume, here’s our guide (put together by the team at Arlyn) to assembling your next winner! 

Before we get into specific cover letter style, let’s first take a look at the universal truths of every cover letter, regardless of the position or the style of letter you choose to draft.

Every cover letter should...

  1.          Match your resume visually;
  2.           Be addressed to someone specifically;
  3.           Indicate the specific position that you’re applying for;
  4.           Show your understanding of the specific employer and their needs;
  5.           Describe how your specific skills match the job requirements detailed;
  6.           Match the tone and style of the job ad;
  7.           Be rigorously proofread.

It shouldn’t...
  1.           Have single-sentence paragraphs or more than four paragraphs;
  2.           Repeat your resume;
  3.           Be ALL about you

Now on to the content!

Cover letters have three distinct parts:

The Introduction

Grab the employer’s attention and make it clear why you’re writing to them. Do you have a mutual colleague or a tidbit of company knowledge appropriate to opening a conversation? Have you clearly stated which position you’re applying for?

The Hook

Illustrate your skills and abilities by providing specific information and examples from your experience. Showcase what you can do for them and demonstrate your understanding of what they need. When doing so, you want to choose specific experiences and match them to the job requirements as closely as possible (just remember not to quote directly from your resume!) Paragraphs aren’t your forte? Try bullet points or get creative with a table:

Your Requirements

My Experience
-          Graduation from an accredited paralegal program
-          Obtained diploma in paralegal studies from xyz school and have 5+ years general litigation experience

-          Excellent leadership skills
-          Trained new legal administrative assistants and managed a team of three

-          Strong technical skills
-          Typing speed of 65WPM, advanced knowledge of MS Office and EsiLaw

The Line

The closing paragraph should thank the addressee for their time and provide an opportunity for the next step, throw them that line with either an offer to follow up or a request for a phone call/email and the contact information!

"The Sinker?" you may ask? Check out our article on the coveted Resume!

Good luck job seekers!

Check out our job postings today! For more on our Job Seeker's Guide Series, click here!

Our approach to Legal Recruitment is different. Once you get to know us you’ll see just what we mean. We are the only legal recruitment agency in Vancouver that offers the full range of Human Resources services, including recruiting, training, and consulting advice tailored to your unique firm’s needs: everything from performance management to policy development.
We take the time to make the match and our intuitive ability combined with our solid foundation in Human Resources allows us to put the right person in the right job. We are honest with everyone, both clients and applicants.
Our commitment to building long term relationships with our clients and candidates is at the heart of our approach to legal recruiting. At Arlyn Recruiting, we believe we are the best legal recruitment agency in Vancouver for jobs including lawyer positions, paralegals, legal assistants and temps.
So if you’re ready to see how we can help you make the right career choice for you send us your resume today!


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