It’s pretty obvious that we all have to submit cover letters or personal write-ups/testimonials during the university admission process. So with the application/interview season coming up right around the corner, I thought I’d write on how to do it right. Below are 5 big tips that will prove invaluable to you in writing a cover letter.
1) Do the prep yourself
You really have to put in the effort to write your own cover letter. You can refer to friend’s cover letters for small technicalities like how to get started (see below), but the real deal is that it has to be you. Of course you’re going to get friends/parents to help edit it! But the content has to come from you.
If you aren’t sure how to start, I like to dive right in with “I am ______, hailing from ____. My dream has always been to be a ______, bla bla bla.” Cliché is cliché for a reason.
2) Get only a few trusted people to edit (PLEASE DO get people to edit)
You don’t want everyone working on your essay because firstly, that lets everyone (your friends are also your competitors here) get a hold of it. They know what they’re up against and they’ll know how to one-up you. Secondly, everyone’s opinion reflected on one piece of writing is going to make it remarkably bland and on-the-fence. You don’t want that to be you. Have a say, take a stand, leave an impression. Don’t get everyone to comment and give you feedback.
3) Include traits you are proud of (and connect to the field of application)
You need to show the admission team what you stand for. And if that “just to happens” to align with what is required in the field of practice, then voila you’ve gotten yourself a beautiful one-up over everyone else who is just selling their abilities and look-what-I’ve-done stories.
Note: You need both the passion and the abilities, and in the application process you want to highlight both. People tend to forget that attitude & character matter a lot as well.
4) Back them up with examples
Of course you don’t sell the story of a hero without showing how you won the battle. Give examples of yourself and the things you’ve accomplished!
For example, if I am going to front the leadership/strong leader image to the application board, then I better know what examples I’m going to dish out (organising ___ events, leading your team to win ____, working with your team to enhance their abilities etc.).
If you want to bring across the idea that you are competent to work in medicine/finance/dentistry/PR/marketing/law, then use examples of your internships. Always works well when you can “quote” something good a superior said about you!
5) Finish off with a bang, and leave it at that
To end off, you want to give yourself a real shove straight into the field of choice. Wrap it up with your best traits and (a definite MUST) a line about your undying/unwavering/unyielding passion and commitment to delve into the practice.