Now that you’ve identified your transferrable skills and written your resume using the tips in #IUCorpsSkills Workshop 1: Building Volunteering into Your Resume, you’re ready to write a cover letter! A cover letter is your chance to tell a story that your resume alone cannot tell. Cover letters can set you apart from other candidates with similar skill sets and give space to explain why you’re the perfect fit for an opportunity. A good cover letter will help illustrate your values and connection to the company – along with your dedication to its long-term success.
Follow this outline when beginning your letter:
Employer Headquarters Address
Dear [Specific Hiring Manager Name],
Paragraph one should include:
- Where you found the job opportunity
- Anticipated graduation month/year
- Your transferable skills that will be useful in this new role
Paragraph two should include:
- Description of an organization for which you worked and your role there.
- When describing a volunteer role, highlight your emotional and personal takeaways along with the professional lessons you learned. What impacted you most? What sparked your passion? Did you learn anything that opened a new area of interest?
Paragraph three should:
- Build upon the experience you described in paragraph two by beginning with how the experience was successfully completed.
- Transition into a final experience that will highlight the skills you have gained along the way.
Paragraph four should:
- Be shorter than the other paragraphs. You may restate that you are appreciative of the opportunity to apply and include your contact information. For example: “If you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 123-456-7890.”
- It is important to be polite and avoid the implication that you’re demanding an interview.
Cover Letter Example
107 S. Indiana Avenue
Bryan Hall, Room 100
Bloomington, IN 47405
107 S Indiana Avenue
Bryan Hall, Room 100
Bloomington, IN 47405
Dear Ms. Smith,
I am applying for the [example] intern position listed on LinkedIn because I believe that my skills and passion for sustainable development, customer engagement and service, and problem-solving are well-suited for this opportunity. I am a junior at Indiana University’s School of [example] with plans to graduate in December 2020, and I am majoring in Operations Management and Sustainable Business.
I understand that being a great candidate for your intern position requires advanced skills in research and environmental analysis, and I am confident that my education and experience have prepared me for this opportunity. For the past two semesters, I have worked with Bloomington Parks and Recreation to help manage and eradicate invasive species in Monroe county. Each month, we meet to remove invasive species from parks and protected wildlife areas. Leaders from the organization train volunteers in how to identify and manage various invasive species. I frequently research new management techniques and propose ideas to the staff, some of which have been implemented. I have also encouraged new volunteers to perform their own research to get the most out of the experience. Working with Bloomington Parks and Recreation has not only improved my analysis and research skills, but it has shown me how to be compassionate and kind in the workplace in the more customer-facing role—in this case, working with volunteers. My involvement with Bloomington Parks and Recreation has led to the incorporation of new invasive management techniques, and I will continue to engage with new volunteers to further the success of this program.
In addition to my experience with Bloomington Parks and Recreation, I am currently a member of the Trockman Microfinance Initiative at Indiana University. The organization’s goal is to alleviate poverty within communities. During the fall of 2017, a local nonprofit asked Trockman to create a microlending program for its umbrella of social impact services. The type of program that our client had in mind was unlike any in the state of Indiana, so it took significant coordination of workstreams and research to develop a plan that was accepted by their board. The nonprofit plans to give its first loan in February.
Currently, I am working in the Trockman consumer experience committee to develop an education plan for the loan recipients and am seeking advice from experts across the industry. We are excited to see the positive impact that these asset-building loans will generate in the community. This program has shown me how to promote the greater good through business and assist individuals on a large-scale, yet personal level. Consulting for a nonprofit in an unpaved focus area has taught me many analytical lessons and pushed my creativity while helping me to build upon strong relational skills.
Over the course of this next semester (spring 2020), I will continue volunteering on issues related to environmental science as I seek to understand the mathematics behind energy development over the next semester. The hands-on, real-world experience of this internship would connect well to concepts that I have learned in the classroom.
I would happy to apply the skills that I have acquired from experience and my commitment to learning to provide a unique perspective within this strategic position. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss this position at [Example Company Name] with you and would appreciate the opportunity for an interview. If you have questions or would like to schedule an interview, please contact me by phone at (123) 456-7890 or by email at email@example.com I hope to hear from you soon.