Cover Letter Acting

Cover Letter Acting :

Engineering Job Interviews

Bill was a forthcoming graduate in engineering. The same basic rules apply to Bill. But there is one significant difference: For Bill, technical skills are the single most important positive characteristic to show in his cover letter. He must present them early in the "why you should interview me" paragraph of his letter.

For Bill, the credibility gap (and we all have one) is a function of his future potential. Since the half-life of engineering knowledge is five years or less, Bill needs to show managerial potential. Otherwise, his probability of getting hired in the first place is reduced. Why? Because in five years, if Bill is still just an engineer, his employer may be faced with a relatively well-paid employee who is less current with engineering advances than a recent college graduate. To avoid that dilemma, firms are prone not to hire someone in the first place unless s/he is promotable. Therefore, it is important for Bill to show promotional potential to help obtain an interview at all.

In terms of motivation, Bill's is reflected in part by his choice of majors, but he should try to show a connection to the firm as well.

Keeping these points in mind, Bill produced the prototype letter. It is written as a generic - that is, specific about the career field, but not directed to a specific company.

Bill faced a two-fold challenge. First, he had to show the positive characteristic of technical expertise. Second, Bill had to show that he had managerial potential (leadership, communication) beyond his technical ability. He did well on both points.

If Bill were a graduate of a college highly respected for engineering and/or he was well-above average in academics, he should mention it in the first or second paragraph.

The cover letter adds to your attractiveness as a candidate in three ways.

Highlighting : You can give those positive characteristics of greatest interest to a particular employer more prominence in the cover letter than you did in your resume.

Reframing : Through your cover letter, you can put some of your experiences in a frame of reference that more closely meets the needs of the employer.

New material : Your cover letter can include material of interest to an employer that would be difficult to present in a resume. Your motivation for wanting to work for that particular company is an example.

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