General chatter - Cover letter woes

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09-22-2011, 01:09 PM
The Family Support Coordinator for the church adoption program that we are going through to adopt from the foster care system is moving out of state due to her husband's career. I want to apply for the position and DH says he's ok with that. I have the qualifications that they are asking for, the only problem may be that the principals I have worked for are no longer at the schools where I worked and impossible to find. I have reference letters from them, but they would not be able to actually talk to them. I am trying now to write a cover letter and I am terrible at this. Does anyone who is good at these things have some advice?

My main problem is that this is a major career path change, though it is one that I had already planned to take before this job opening happened. I have only ever written cover letters to apply for teaching jobs.

09-22-2011, 01:17 PM
try googling cover letters templates? you'd be surprised what you can find out there.

09-22-2011, 01:18 PM
Are you in the process of adopting, now ? If so, is that a good time to be starting a new job... looking at it from the authorities angle, if you are adopting.

09-22-2011, 01:27 PM
Yes, we are adopting now, but we will most likely be adopting children who are already in school and most of the time spent on this job would be during the hours that they were in school.

09-22-2011, 01:57 PM
Roxy - your cover letter should definitely talk about how the skills you developed while teaching can apply to the new job. Whenever applying for a new career field, you should focus on the transferable skills. I would also mention in there that because you are already familiar with the program, it would be a smooth transition, and you'll also be able to better relate to others who go through the program. Make sense?

09-22-2011, 02:01 PM
I HIGHLY recommend the book "What color is your parachute" You could probably read the necessary chapters in a day/few hours and it will help you out with all that stuff. The library should have it.

With the cover letter, make it BREIF!!! It probably won't get read anyway but keeping it short gives you the best chance. Two short and sweet paragraphs.

Focus more on the energy of the cover letter rather than what you say in particular. It should give the employer a sense of what drives you and why you're applying to this position. Who you are as a person. Talk about why you got into teaching, why you liked it, your passion for adoption as a applying parent etc. Keep the tone very positive and let them know that you're looking for more than a job and a paycheck.

Definitely check out samples online but know that taking a sample and switching some words and sentences around wont get you noticed.

09-22-2011, 02:08 PM
cherrypie - I actually wouldn't be surprised, doing exactly that is how I first learned to write cover letters when I was looking for teaching jobs. Right now I am using an old template that I have an working on updating it for this job.

Kukkie - Thank you, I'm working on how to word things about my transferable skills right now.

09-22-2011, 02:10 PM
Scarlett - Thank you, I really needed the keep it brief reminder right now. Nervousness tends to make me run at the mouth (or the fingertips, lol).

09-22-2011, 02:21 PM
In your cover letter you might add " references upon request" or something similar you can show them your referances and do not worry if the principals can be reached in person or not. Relax, if you have the qualifications you will probably be considered. Do not be dissapointed if you don't get it. A new job is stressful and so is adding new members to the family, no matter how much you love them and want to do it.
Good luck with the adoption and with the job.

09-22-2011, 03:39 PM
I think I have it now. :crossed: that it gets me at least into the candidate pool

09-22-2011, 11:53 PM
Make sure your cover letter also talks about (in the second or third paragraph) the job itself and the organization. You should clearly articulate you understand their mission, values, and what the job entails. Connect that then with your skills and how it would be a good compliment.

The cover letter should look like- and should be!- unique to each job you apply for. The person reading it should feel like you want to work for THEM, not just any job in particular.

I used to hire others for my old job, and this was a huge pet peeve. If someone couldn't describe what we did and why they wanted to get involved in our work, it was a red flag.

I also disagree a cover letter should be super short. I think it should be one full page, maybe 3/4 of a page at the least. It is both a description of your skills and why you want to work there, but it's also an indication of how strong a communicator you are. I suppose everyone is different, but I would much rather see a substantive page-long cover letter than just a few paragraphs.

Best of luck to you!!

09-23-2011, 12:05 AM
indiblue - I did talk about the organization and what they do as well. It ended up being about 1/2 page. No worries right now about me sending out anything that feels like a form letter since this is the only job I am currently interested in applying for.