Skip to main content

Angela Kim

SFU Student
Education, Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology

empty
two people laughing while having a coffee together
You look from the clock back to your nervous date, still busy talking. You decide to put the person at ease using your great conversation skills and soon you’re planning the next date together…

Imagine you’re going on a blind date. You walk into the restaurant nervously. Moments later you realize the attractive person sitting at the table is your date. You’re excited to get to know this person… but, oh no. All they do is talk about themselves! They don’t even make eye contact because they’re too busy showing you all the awards they’ve won and the projects they’re working on. Even worse… they use all these technical words from their job. You glance at the clock, wondering how you’ll get through this!

This type of scenario is common when it comes to writing cover letters. The applicant provides a one-sided view only and doesn’t consider the employer’s perspective. 

Learning to write a cover letter that feels like a great conversation takes practice, just like dating does. When there are sparks, it often leads to a next date (the interview!) and a next date (a job offer!) and…you get the picture. In this blog post, I will guide you on how to do both - how to talk about your accomplishments and how to engage the employer in what feels like a conversation about how you can be an asset to their company.

1. Recall the Fundamental Elements of All Good Stories: Beginning, Middle, End

Lightly introduce yourself and then bring the subject back to the other person (the position). Say something interesting (about the company) to show your interest and some of your knowledge. Go a little deeper with sharing who you are and why you want to be a part of the team, and share a short story about a particular initiative you took and explain how this is valuable to the company. Towards the end of the conversation, briefly summarize yourself in a memorable way, while showing interest in wanting this conversation to continue further.

2. Use Language Familiar to Your Reader

Have a captivating introduction and match your language with theirs (refer to their job description, their website). No matter how charming you are and how great your qualifications are, if the reader can’t understand what you’re saying, you can’t get to know each other.

3. Stick to the Point

According to Undercover Recruiter, the average time spent looking at a cover letter is 5-7 seconds. This is your first impression and it counts. The reader wants to know more about your personality and skillset, quickly.

4. You Don’t Need to Be the Center of Attention

This is a common phenomenon in cover letters. Draw the reader in by saying something you know about them for once!

5. Be Genuinely Interested in the Company

Mention a specific award the company won and compliment them on specifically what they’ve done that got them the award. The content of your cover letter should flow naturally, as it would in a real conversation.

6. Be Real

Hiring managers can sense real passion about what you’re saying, even on paper. After reading your cover letter, if they can paint a picture of who you are in their minds, this a good clue that you’ve done a good job of being yourself.  Share your passions and your motivations and have a genuine conversation with the reader.

You look from the clock back to your nervous date, still busy talking. You decide to put the person at ease using your great conversation skills and soon you’re planning the next date together…

Don’t do what you wouldn’t want to happen on a blind date - on your cover letter!

  • Angela Kim Jul 20, 2016
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  38

About the Author

Angela Kim

SFU Student
Education, Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology
Angela Kim is an SFU Psychology and Education graduate who has her Career Practitioner certificate. She is now a Program Officer at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and believes that everyone has their own unique and valuable story of how they got to where they are now. If you have any questions for her or want to connect, you can find her LinkedIn profile here.

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Working on campus
The 10 Minute Commute – Resources and Useful Information for Working on Campus

Have you ever thought about working in a place that you are familiar with?  Perhaps a Tim Horton’s close by? For many students the idea of working at SFU might be a great option, if you prefer a 10 minute jaunt to work after class or an opportunity to learn more about how a university operates.

two people laughing while having a coffee together
library_books
Blog
The Cover Letter Blind Date
Career Exploration, Communication, Cover Letters, Personal Development

We’ve all been there, wanting to impress our cute blind date -- feeling great in the moments when the conversation flows – and not so much in the moments when it stalls out.

You Might Like These... Interviews

A guy with a suit
The Top 5 Last Minute Interview Tips You Really Need To Know

You’ve done all you can do to prepare for that big interview. You’re professionally dressed, confident and ready to roll. Here are some last minute tips that will ensure you make the best impression possible. 

picture of a bunch of hand-painted bowls
International Studies: Experiences Abroad Set Students Apart

International Studies (IS) is a fairly new faculty at SFU. How can students in IS market their unique perspectives and skill set to potential employers? Read on for advice from Jan Bérubé, Manager of Academic & Administrative Services for the School for International Studies, and for some upcoming events with international-focused employers.

yellow themed flatlay of scissors, papers, and pencils
All About Resumes: Content & Style Tips

Whether it is one or two pages, everything from content to design of the resume should be in harmony, enabling you to showcase the great skills you have to offer.