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Only Cover Letter College Offers an Education that Gets You Interviews
Given the pathetic state of the average cover letter that gets sent by job seekers, perhaps what the workforce needs today is a Cover Letter College, specifically designed to teach the skills needed to write an interview-landing, job getting cover letter. Compared to the rest of the courses taught at colleges around the world, this specific cover letter university would have the distinction of being one that actually enabled the students to obtain a job after college, and to continue getting the jobs they want for the rest of their career. Consequently, it would provide a return on investment that can’t be matched anywhere else in the educational marketplace. In order to provide the best possible education, this website seeks to explain the curriculum that would be in place at Cover Letter College.
Freshman Year. The first year of college would be spent erasing all the bad habits and mistakes that many people have picked up when it comes to writing cover letters. There would be a lecture series explaining the many ways that free cover letter samples are worthless and to be avoided at all costs. Classes would be conducted to drive home the importance of putting down the correct name and contact details of the hiring manager of the target company. Scientific experiments would be run where cover letters addressed to "To Whom It May Concern" are sent to hiring managers, and students could measure for themselves the rate at which these cover letters are thrown away unopened and unread.
An entire semester of the first year would be spent listing all tired and worn out phrases that have no place in an interesting, exciting cover letter… things like "Attached please find my resume" and "thank you for your consideration." Of course, as these boring and empty phrases are being read in class, it’s likely that the students will do exactly what the hiring managers do when they see them in a letter: Fall asleep. So for that semester, each classroom will have a portable Starbucks coffee station in it to keep the students caffeinated enough to get through the lecture without going into a coma.
The Cover Letter College Curriculum Continued
For the second year of Cover Letter College, the students would undergo a strenuous and arduous educational process to teach them how to think about jobs, employers, opportunities and cover letters in general. Specifically, the students at this unique institution of higher learning would receive training in how to think of the business world in terms of problems that need to be solved. That is, after all, the basis of every product, service or transaction that takes place. People need to have a problem solved… a car washed, a lawsuit filed, a tumor removed and they seek out the person that can best solve that problem for them.
This might be a disillusioning time for the naÔve student who enters the university thinking that human beings are nice, fair, caring entities. In this year the student becomes aware that all people – except maybe Bono -- are profoundly selfish and self-seeking actors. We walk around the world all day obsessed with our problems, our needs, our lacks and how we can solve them or get someone else to do that for us. The student learns that this selfishness is at the heart of our economic system and society… I solve your problem for you in exchange for money, then I take that money and use it to get someone else to solve my problem for me.
The same holds true within a company or organization as well. The company needs a problem solved… products sold, customers identified, employees managed, etc… They hire a person when that person proves that they are best able to solve that problem for the company. This is a counterintuitive concept for many people, who often enter the workforce thinking about "positions" and "jobs" instead of problems. After a full year of lectures, exercises and readings, a solid foundation in problem solving mentality should be established.
Upperclassmen Courses at C.C.C.
Which brings us to the third year curriculum of Cover Letter College. In this year, the student takes on some more advanced thinking and writing. This is the year that they learn to explain why they are the best solution to the problem that the position they are seeking was formed to solve. Proving this will necessarily involve a lot of reasoning skills and logic and presentation ability. Specifically, the student will learn how to take a description of the problem and match their attributes and skills to show that they can solve that problem effectively. By the end of this year, the cover letter student should have a firm grasp of the basics that they need to write a truly world class cover letter.
One of the more important lessons to be taught this third year is the value of experience. When employers hire someone to solve a problem for them, they are in no mood to take a chance on someone that may or may not be able to solve that problem. Similarly, they are not interested in giving a position to someone who will be able to solve the problem eventually, after much training and handholding. They want someone who is a sure bet to take care of the problem at hand and to take care of it more or less immediately.
As important as education, training, theory and interest might be to put in a cover letter, nothing speaks as loudly and clearly to the employer as experience. Experience takes the cover letter writer out of the hypothetically or theoretically capable category and puts them in the definitely capable category. The more similar that experience is to the problem solving that the target company needs done, then the more sure the hiring manager is that you can do the necessary job right away, too. For this reason, Cover Letter College students will be instructed in listing specific instances in which they solved their business problems, and in highlighting concrete examples of when that problem solving gave the desired results.
School Is Almost Over Now
The fourth year is when they are taught to put it all together, and the extra elements that make the cover letter exciting and interesting and motivational for hiring managers. In most schools, the fourth year is one in which the students start to take it a little easy and coast though to graduation. But not at Cover Letter College. The required courses for this last year cover subjects such as attention grabbing headlines, calls to action that inspire action and when or when not to use the P.S. secret weapon.
At this point the student is savvy enough to understand the subtleties and the flow of the cover letter… how it should get the reader’s attention with a headline like "AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY: EXPERIENCED SALES LEADER" and not let go. How it should establish authority and competence by accurately describing the problem that the reader is most concerned with solving, then quickly move into making the case why the writer is the best person to solve that problem. Issues of tone and mechanics will be extremely important to establish this final year as well. A Cover Letter College graduate will know that a cover letter should never sound stiff, formal, or be full of fancy vocabulary and jargon. Instead, the graduate will produce letters which are intelligent, casual and light in tone. Proofreading and editing will round out the mechanics section. Students will learn that reading a cover letter out loud is a great way to check it for errors and tone.
A full semester will be spent on the call to action portion of the cover letter. The best cover letter in the world isn’t effective if the reader puts it down afterwards, thinks to themselves what a great cover letter they just read, and then moves onto doing something else. At its heart, the cover letter is intended to inspire and motivate ACTION. Nine times out of ten that action is to get the reader to take the next step needed to turn the applicant into an employee. Usually, this involves picking up the telephone and calling the applicant to set up an interview.
If that’s the case, then the cover letter should come right out and just say that. "I look forward to speaking with you in person to share my enthusiasm for this opportunity. Please call me at 555-999-8888 so that we can set up a time to talk" should do the trick most of the time.
Time to Put It All Together
Lastly, the senior year is a year in which the student moves beyond theory and starts to apply their education they have received so far. Before graduation, each Cover Letter College student must write a cover letter that meets the approval of the professors and gets the student a job with an employer. That will make the graduation ceremony especially exciting, since instead of receiving a diploma from the Dean, the proud graduate will pick up their very first paycheck from their dream job!
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