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Cover Letter

flyby

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Hi Everyone. Anyone care to share some cover letter tips? Any samples would be great. I know the format of it and the purpose but I can't seem to get a good flow to mine. In fact I've discovered I am re-hashing a lot of my resume info so I've decided to start over.

Thanks for any help or feedback
 

bobbysamd

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Cover letters

A couple of ideas before I share the text of what I used.

First of all, get the pilot recruiter's name. Don't send a letter to "Pilot Recruiting." It looks and sounds tacky. Just call the company and ask for the name of the recruiter.

Another point is you can use some standard form and language, but know the company and try to customize it so it sounds more personal.

While I'm on the "personal" kick, keep your letter brief; the reason being that the only people who review cover letters are H.R., who lack appreciation for the effort you put in to them. Unfortunately, the higher-ups, to whom you could sell quals and outstanding personal traits, don't see these letters. Just H.R., who are really only interested if your quals match their profile.

Finally, don't rehash your resume. Just showcase the quals you have that they want. Probably that will be total time, multiengine, pilot certificate and medical. You primarily want to point out that your credentials meet or exceed their quals.

Having said all that, try something like this:


Your address
City, State, Zip
email
Date


Joe Blow, Pilot Recruitment
XYZ Airlines
100 Main Street
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. Blow:

I should like to apply for a Flight Officer position with XYZ Airlines. Enclosed is my resume.

My qualifications include 4565 total hours, 1380 multiengine, an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a First Class Medical Certificate, and a four-year college degree. Currently, I am flying as Captain on the KingAir 350 for Joe's Flying Service, an FAR Part 135 operator. I fly an average of 60 hours a month. I also free-lance flight instruct on weekends and teach Private ground school at Smalltime Vo-Tech.

I have always regarded XYZ Airlines as one of the top commuter airlines. I read recently in the Podunk Rag that XYZ will be expanding its operations during the next year. These plans sound very exciting and I am sure you would find my abilities and work ethic to be valuable.

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to present my qualifications to you in person. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,


Flyby

Hope that helps. Good luck with your job search.
 
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TIS

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In general I agree with bobbysamds' response but I would add to his, the following observations.

Do make the effort to do a little legwork. Find out who you're sending the letter to and personalize it to at least that degree if you can. Shouldn't take too much effort if you apply yourself just a bit.

Do make your letter personal but this is where I differ with bobbysamd just a bit. I don’t necessarily think it should be too brief. Certainly one page or less but don’t feel like you HAVE to place a cap on 1/4 - 1/2 a page. That might defeat the purpose of writing a cover letter in the first place.

I also don’t necessarily agree that writing a comprehensive and effective cover letter is a wasted effort. Whether someone actually reads your cover letter at a particular company has more to do with that company's corporate culture than it does with some general guideline out there in the ether about who reads cover letters. It's true that your letter may never be read by anyone, but you should also consider that there ARE some companies out there that will not even consider you for an interview unless you've demonstrated your genuine interest in working for them by taking the time to write a cover letter as part of your written presentation to them.

Here's the bottom line. The reason for writing a cover letter is very simple - it can be used to fill in details about you that your resume does not, or cannot say. It also offers you an opportunity to express what YOU want your target company to know about you and moreover, you get to say it the way YOU want them to hear it.

Your cover letter is indeed, the only occasion during the entire pre-employment screening process in which you have TOTAL control over the flow of information. At all other times during the various interview phases you will go through you will be providing information from a defensive posture, if you will, because it will be offered in response to a question that is put to you.

So, how do you write an effective cover letter? Well, ideally you should start with a resume. The reason is that your cover letter should provide details that your resume cannot.

One example of this might be that on your resume you state that you have a B.S. degree in Chemistry. Certainly an impressive accomplishment. However, it is an accomplishment made almost astonishing if your cover letter explains that you earned the money to put yourself through school all on your own, without help. It's not that you're showboating here but that is a fact hatat here just isn't any room for in the format of a standard resume. By addressing it in a cover letter you are letting your interviewer/target company know that you're not afraid of a little hard work. Indeed, such a claim could imply that you welcome a long-term challenge, complete with all the adversity it might bring.

Writing a cover letter is an important tool is because once you've made the effort to organize one and think about what it should say, you've pretty much looked at yourself as openly and honestly as you probably ever will do. You've laid everything about yourself on the table and made perhaps some tough choices between that information that makes the cut and that which does not. The point is that YOU make the choices and YOU prepare the final sales pitch so that it delivers the punch YOU want it to have.

There is yet another hidden benefit here too. Once you (and your target company's representatives) have a written record of what you want them to know you can use it as a cheat sheet - you can use it to help you remember what you wanted them to hear from you.

Take the following situation as an example. You are in an interview and you've been asked a question whose answer is contained in your cover letter. Perhaps they've read it, or perhaps they haven't but in either case you can still point to it by saying something like, "As you may recall from my cover letter…." One of two things will result from this. The first possibility is that you will pique your interviewer's interest in what you have written. This will most likely occur if they HAVEN'T read your letter. By doing this you might inspire them to read your letter and learn that much more about you, in your own words, fashioned exactly the way YOU planned.

The other possibility is that they have read your letter. When this is the case you will be reminding them of something they already know about you. Pointing to it as part of your answer allows you to reiterate a fact or a point that YOU decided when you assembled the letter was something your interviewer should know about you.

No matter which situation you're in one thing that both have in common is an important benefit - that of repeating a key component of your presentation. The reason this is so vital is that people remember things they are taught when the lesson is repeated. Put very simply, hitting key points more than once will better assure that your selling points are better remembered by the interviewer. If you do nothing else in the interview you must make theeinterviewer remember you. Anything you can do towards a successful achievement of that end is beneficial to your effort.

As a final overall benefit, taking the time to integrate your presentation in this way will demonstrate that you cared enough about the impression you wanted to make in the interview to go to substantial effort in organizing your thinking about it.

It all comes down to the fundamental notion if you make the effort to write a quality cover letter and it makes a positive difference in the impression you create while you're there then it will have been worth it. If the letter itself seems as though it has little or no impact, that may indeed be the case but you really have no way of knowing how your effort stacks up against the energy or the apathy of the efforts put forth by other applicants. In this way your effort is regarded on a relative scale.

Wouldn't it really be better to make the effort and in the process, learn a lesson that will last you the rest of your life about how to do it than to try to just get by on a less than full tilt effort?

My book covers resumes and cover letters (and how to write them) extensively. This is just a bare bones encapsulation of what's in it.

I hope it helps you out!

TIS
 

bobbysamd

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Good points

I'd just would say to be careful not to go on and on. For some reason, people are intimidated when confronted by a piece of paper that is blacked-out with copy. It turns them off and they end up not reading it. That's unfortunate and unfair; they should. Now, if you know for sure that a big muckity-muck in the company reviews resumes and is someone who really takes time to evaluate applicants, then I'd put in the effort to draft a more detailed cover letter. You're more likely to find such people in smaller companies.

I like the idea of writing a line or two about your work ethic and accomplishments, as TIS suggested. Maybe write in the second paragraph of my example, e.g., how your started earning money for flying at age 14 by mowing lawns and a paper route. How, in college, you graduated summa while working part-time, etc.

Good luck with your letter-writing.
 
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