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In the middle one or two paragraphs, summarize how your skills and accomplishments qualify you for the job or internship and how you can add value to the organization.

  • What makes you a good candidate for this position? Mention specific experiences, accomplishments, and credentials –gained through course work, internships, work-study positions, field study experiences, extracurricular activities, and employment – that demonstrate skills relevant to the position (e.g., writing, leadership, multicultural awareness, public speaking, teaching).
  • Focus on two or three key elements from your resume that most directly relate to the position and emphasize your potential value to the organization. Make an effort to avoid restating exactly what’s on your resume. A cover lettershould guide readers to what is most important about your experience, and add qualitative information.
  • Mention transferable skills. These are skills acquired during any activity in your life – jobs, classes, projects, hobbies, sports, etc. – that are applicable to the work you want to do. Examples of transferable skills include oral and written communication; research; logic; work ethic traits such as drive, stamina, diligence, initiative, and reliability; ability to handle multiple tasks and thrive under deadline pressure; research skills; and ability to achieve goals.
  • Convey a clear career goal or, if unsure about your ultimate career goal, an explicit short-term goal.
  • Demonstrate some knowledge of the organization. Find out about the organization’s mission and accomplishments. Describe how these fit with your interests and ideals and how you can make a contribution to the organization.

Don’t be afraid to show passion for the job, the organization, or the field in general. If a potential employer can sense your enthusiasm, you’ll stand out. If your values align with the organization’s, say so and say why. (Nonprofit employers often make passion for their mission a job requirement.)

 
 

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