Cover Letter Layout :
Chambers of commerce
Across the world there are hundreds of local business organizations carrying the name chamber of commerce. These chambers exist for the purpose of fostering business and you can find them even in relatively small towns.
Let's say you wanted to explore employment opportunities in the town of Chicopee - Massachusetts (population 55,000). The Chicopee Chamber of Commerce will provide job-seekers access to a reference book identifying 900 employers in the area! The reference is easy to use, indicating the size and line of business of each employer. A very few will be large firms, like Spalding Sports Worldwide. Many will be so small, such as "Joe's Luncheonette," that you will see scant opportunity there.
Most firms will be smaller than Spalding and larger than Joe's. The problem then is to cut down 900 employers to a workable size. You can do this by establishing two criteria for your first group of firms. Manufacturers with more than 20 employees would be an example. An added bonus of this method is that it makes writing your prototype cover letter easier. All your letters for this group will have your professional field, the firm's industry and the matter of location in common. Only one sentence, a motivation for wanting to work for that specific company, would need to be changed for each letter.
The membership list of the local chapter of a trade association provides a useful source of names for networking. These lists also indicate, at least potentially, firms that hire people in your field.
Most professions have at least one association of members who have banded together to protect and promote their interests. A good source for identifying trade associations is…
The Encyclopedia of Associations - Gale Research Company
This is a readily available reference identifying the purpose and main address of thousands of organizations. A simple inquiry to the group's main office should lead you to the local chapter of that association. Trade associations are good sources for information about current conditions in the profession. Although trade associations vary in their scope and helpfulness, they represent a resource you don't want to
Trade associations are also a useful source for networking.
Articles in the press
The print media are an outstanding source of stories about firms, business leaders and business conditions. Here are some examples…
Local newspapers : The local press often runs stories about new businesses, expansions (or closings) and prominent local business people. Such stories are a good source for identifying companies of
interest. In addition, your cover letter can cite information you read and be addressed to someone mentioned in the article.
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