Application season is soon approaching and I want to make sure that you’re all able to write a good cover letter for when it arrives. Most students haven’t ever written a cover letter before, so we’ve added examples for each paragraph!
Before I begin I want to encourage you to write a cover letter for every role you apply to. I know not all firms ask for them, but it is really good practice to still write one – why?
- It is good to be in the habit of writing them as they are expected throughout your career
- It encourages you to research the company. This helps when you reach the interview stages as you will be able to discuss the firm
- Because if you think writing a cover letter is too much effort – do you even want the role?
How to write a cover letter
A cover letter is essentially you selling yourself to the company you are applying to. It is your job to use your experiences and studies to paint a picture to the recruiter that you would fit in well with the company. In addition, it’s your chance to tell the company why they are the best fit for you – why are they better than their competitors?
Paragraph 1: The introduction
This is a real opportunity to leave a good impression on the recruiter. Be different. Now that is not me saying include a Kanye lyric but try to show them you’ve engaged with the firm/industry before. It is imperative that after reading this introduction that they know the role you are going for as well as the office.
To be different speak about the journey that took you to apply for the role
- Did you attend a university event?
- Did you do the insight day?
- Did you meet them at a networking festival?
- Did you get referred to the role by an employee?
After attending the recruitment fair at my university last week, my conversation with Alex Jones encouraged me to further look into work opportunities at PwC. Further research of your Deals service line has led me to apply for the role as a Deals Summer Intern at the Cambridge office.
Paragraph 2: Why does the role interest you?
By the time the recruiter has read this paragraph, they should really see your desire to work for them in this specific department. Don’t overdo it – none of that “Since I was 10 years old…” is needed.
- What interested you in this role? Was it a module at university? A news article? A conversation?
- How did that module/article/conversation make you feel? Why did it make you want to apply for this role?
- Show initiative and drive – did you do further research after the event/module?
Does the role fit into your career plan? If so, how?
My interest in interning for the Valuations team stems primarily from my Financial Economics and Capital Markets module. After being taught the basics of a capital structure of a firm I challenged myself to read up on it further which brought me to DCF and LBO models. I find it intriguing how in different industries different models are preferred, and really want to see the theory play out in practice. After learning the two models, I spoke to a graduate from your firm at the graduate fair at university, who told me the work within Valuations is intellectually stimulating – this is something i’m much looking forward to. It is intergal that after graduation, my job allows me to use the knowledge from my degree – this is a real opportunity for me to work towards a career in Valuations.
Paragraphs 3&4: What skills can you bring to the role?
Tell the recruiter why they’d be lucky to have you. They should read this paragraph and feel like you’d have no trouble coping with the difficulty and level of work.
- Talk about relevant skills – where did you develop them?
- Public speaking? Teamwork? Relationship building? Data analysis?
- Are you really good at MS Excel? Adobe Photoshop? Stata?
- What have these skills done for you? Have they helped you become Secretary of a society?
- Why is that skill important for the role?
- Why is the skill important to the company?
My ability to build and maintain relationships with people is something I pride myself on; fitting for an organisation such as yours who work with a very diverse set of clients. Good interpersonal skills have allowed me to thrive at university and have helped be elected as President of the Afro-Caribbean society. As well as this, I have also been a waitress at Carluccio’s for two years, and have successfully demonstrated my ability to be self-aware, adapting my approach to suit different customers. This is something that has been noticed by management as I have been awarded for it multiple times. Client relations are integral to upholding not only the reputation of your firm but also growing the revenue of your firm. Such skills seem paramount to the M&A department. I would thoroughly enjoy applying this ability to becoming a valued member of the team.
Paragraph 5: Why that company?
Hopefully, paragraphs 1 – 4 have shown the recruiter why you are the best fit for the role. Now you need to show them why the company fit you as a person.
- Why did you choose them instead of their competitors?
- Do they work with a specific type of client that interests you?
- Do they have a good leadership development programme?
- Are they the leading firm for diversity and inclusion in their sector?
- Do they have a flat structure (i.e. can anyone talk to those in higher position?)
- Is the culture relaxed?
As I look to begin my career, it is imperative for me that I work for a company who share the same values as me. EY have proven to be a firm who advocate both diversity and inclusion. The fact that your firm was the first Big 4 firm to have a D&I role at partner level is testament to the fact you are open to making the workplace a better place for all. This heavily resonates with me, as in my position as BME officer at my university I worked to maintain an environment of respect for all. This level of inclusivity appears to also be championed at EY through the use of networks – something I cannot wait to be a valued part of.
Paragraph 6: Closing statement
You have done all the hard work – well done!
All you need to do now is thank the recruiter for reading the cover letter. Tell them they can contact you if they want to discuss anything further.
I greatly hope this cover letter has illustrated to you both my interest in working in the Finance team as well as providing you with an insight into the impact I would have during my internship. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and please get in touch if you wish to contact me further. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
I hope this post has helped you understand cover letters a bit more. It can be daunting but break it down into each point and go from there.
Email email@example.com for FREE TAILORED advice on your cover letter!
Till next time,
Hizzer is an Economics graduate from York. During his time at York he was President of the Economics Society and ambassador for the careers department. After interning with the Corporate Finance Strategy team in 2018 he will be returning to EY in September 2019 to join the Leeds Transactions Services team.