You have your resume ready to go, but now you need a cover letter too? What IS a cover letter, anyway? We talked to a finance manager from Wells Fargo about what companies look for—and dread—in cover letters.
College Magazine: What do companies look for in cover letters?
Wells Fargo: The ability to communicate clearly and intelligently. The cover letter is a reflection of the person and what they are going to bring to the job. People think they need to describe their entire life history when it’s really about the social graces. Including “thank you so much for taking the time” or “I look forward to speaking with you” within your cover letter is very important, especially for an applicant who doesn’t have a lot of previous experience.
CM: How long should a cover letter be?
WF: It should cover the middle half of the page. Don’t make it any longer than the middle of the page.
CM: What can applicants do to make their cover letters stand out from others?
WF: Applicants should be professional, earnest and personal. For example, a cover letter should begin with, “I am very excited to work for this company,” and include the position the applicant is applying for and other experience relevant to the job. Be sure to address the employers by their first and last names.
CM: Any other advice?
WF: When you go in for an interview, get the business card of the people you meet. Make sure to send a thank you letter in the mail right after the interview.
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