You’re casually scrolling on LinkedIn when you see your dream job has just advertised a new vacancy – and you’d be perfect for it! Now what? How do you secure your interview spot, becoming one step closer to making your dream a reality? You’ve already perfected your CV, so all that’s left is nailing that Cover Letter!
A Cover Letter is a formal letter that introduces you to a prospective employer, and includes all the relevant information to determine whether you would be suitable for the role. Alongside your CV, a Cover Letter is the first step to getting noticed by potential employers.
Do Your Research
Before you start writing your Cover Letter, make sure you have thoroughly read the job description and done your research! Demonstrate your legal research skills to prospective employers by making it clear that you understand the relevant practice areas and firm culture and are able to show how your skills, experience and passions reflect this. Impress prospective employers by using keywords and traits highlighted in the job advertisement or on their website. Use this information in your Cover Letter to emphasise why you are the best candidate for the position. If a job advertisement asks you to address any criteria, make sure to include this in your Cover Letter.
Don’t Discredit Your Experience
Let’s be real – if you are a Law Student, your practical legal experience is likely to be very limited; but don’t let this intimidate you when applying for jobs! You can use other life experiences such as previous employment, volunteering, and other significant achievements to demonstrate valuable transferable skills that firms are looking for. Highlight opportunities where you have developed leadership skills, shown initiative, and solved problems.
Structuring Your Cover Letter
Remember that you are writing a formal letter - the layout and format of your Cover Letter should reflect this. Remember to include your contact details in the top right corner and the date. If the job application includes the name of an employee who will be handling the applications, you may address the letter to them directly or otherwise use a generic phrase such as ‘To Whom This May Concern’. Firms can often advertise several positions simultaneously so make sure to draw their attention to the role that you are applying for.
Your first paragraph should introduce yourself to your prospective future employer. You should highlight your education and include a statement outlining why you are applying for this job – Is it to gain experience in a new area? Because you meet the job criteria? Or do you want to work for this particular company?
In your next paragraph, explain to your prospective employer why you have chosen to apply to work for their firm, and provide reasons as to why you are applying for this particular role. This is where your research comes in handy! Highlight the values and skills that you can bring to their company!
You should also include accomplishment statements explaining why you are the best candidate for the positions with examples from your previous experiences, and the skills that you have to offer. You want your Cover Letter to reflect your CV, but not repeat it! This is the time to sell yourself and go into detail – don’t let your fear of bragging get in the way!
Concluding with a statement thanking them for taking the time to review your application is always a nice touch.
Write in Plain English
Just like your assignments, there is no need to try and include fancy legal jargon in your Cover Letter. Firms are looking for candidates who can communicate information professionally and clearly. By doing this in your Cover Letter, you are demonstrating to your potential employer that this is a skill you have already mastered.
Check Everything (And Check Again)
The last thing that you want in your beautiful Cover Letter is a spelling or grammatical error! It could be the thing that makes or breaks your application! It can be difficult to spot errors on tasks that you have been working on - ask a friend, family member or colleague to proofread your Cover Letter before you even think about applying. When you are ready, make sure to upload your CV and Cover Letter as a PDF!
About the Author Alicia is studying her fifth year of a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts (Applied Psychology). In addition to her position on the NDSLS as Education Director, Alicia has a passion for reading, rules, and roses. #law #studentlife #cv #coverletter #uni #Notredameuni #notredamesyd #ndsls #lawstudent #lawschool #hireme #lawjobs