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Victoria Cottell

SFU Staff
Arts + Social Sciences, Communication, Art + Technology
Co-operative Education

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Rabindranath Tagore said “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Come up with a plan to sail across the sea (maybe in a yacht?) and then be brave and put that plan into action.

My nephew has known for many years exactly what he wants to do as a career. He wants to be a high profile litigator, the most highly paid type of lawyer, and buy a 90-foot luxury yacht. He intends to spend as little time working and as much time on his yacht as possible. Will he achieve this goal? Well, since he’s only 10 years old, it will likely be a while until we find that out.

Maybe there’s a job you really want, or an organization for which you really want to work. It’s not on MyExperience and there's no current postings, but it’s something you want to try. If you take the initiative to do some research and contact the organization, you may be able to make your dream a reality.

To start, you can write a letter of introduction to someone in the organization. A letter of introduction includes specific and relevant information about you. But like a cover letter, don’t just focus on what you will get from the experience; focus on what you have to offer. The letter should be simple, short, and conversational in style, and include all of your contact information.

Prior to writing your introduction letter, as when writing a cover letter, you need to research the organization. Look at their website and read any blogs or newspaper articles about them. If you know someone who works there, talk to them to find out more about the organization. Then decide what it is you have to offer and specifically where in the organization you want to work. Find the name of the person who would be most responsible to get you an interview and address your letter to that individual. Letters with no specific addressees may end up getting lost or ignored and not end up with the department, area, or hiring manager for which you intended it.  

Components:

Introductory Paragraph

  • Introduce yourself. Tell the reader who you are and why you are writing. Grab the reader’s interest and attention from the start so they will want to keep reading!

  • Articulate the type of position and department in which you are interested in working.

  • Give about 2-4 key assets that you feel will allow you to make a solid contribution to the organization/position you are after.

Middle Paragraphs

  • In the middle paragraphs, use concrete examples that show off your skills. Write about your successes in past jobs.

  • Explain why you would be a good fit for the organization.

Final Paragraph

  • Be specific about what you want.

    • Would you like to request a meeting or an interview?

    • If a meeting, what would you like to discuss in the meeting? Would you like discuss future opportunities? Names of other people in the organization to whom you should speak?

    • State whether you will be contacting them to follow up, and if so, when.

    • Make sure to include all your contact information in your signature (e-mail, phone, LinkedIn profile, URL etc.). Make it easy for them to get in touch with you and find out more about you!

Here’s an example:

Dear Ms. White,

I have been to many happy places in my life, and had many happy experiences such as zip lining in the Costa Rican jungle, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and visiting a gigantic toy museum in Penang, Malaysia, but I can state with absolute assurance that out of everywhere I have been, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. It is my goal to work at Disneyland, specifically in the character representation department. I have previous experience in imaginary entity embodiment in the role of a children’s entertainer and a great passion for Disneyland.

My previous experiences have included playing Mr. Potato Head and a pine scented air freshener for various children’s programs with the company “A Bored Kid is a Dangerous Kid” where we focus on keeping children engaged in activities at all times. Every summer I play a light bulb for the local hardware store which has been proven to increase the amount of customers who visit the store. I have experience in wearing hot costumes for hours at a time. I believe these experiences would allow me to be an excellent Miss Piggy, Darth Vader, or whichever character is needed.

I would very much appreciate it if we could discuss my qualifications further as well as any job opportunities that are currently available. I will call you on Wed. June 26 to speak with you. Thank-you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Avery Childe

averychild@sfu.ca

604-555-1234

imabigkidnow.com

Rabindranath Tagore said “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Come up with a plan to sail across the sea (maybe in a yacht?) and then be brave and put that plan into action. You can’t get what you want if you don’t ask. And remember that your Co-op coordinator is there to help and support you. Anchors Aweigh!

  • Victoria Cottell Sep 5, 2013
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Victoria Cottell

SFU Staff
Arts + Social Sciences, Communication, Art + Technology
Co-operative Education

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