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What do I include in my argument/body?

Summary:

"Writing Your Cover Letter" is a series of short documents that walks you through the creation of a cover letter. Here you can see the information in the "Quick Tips for Cover Letters" and "Preparing to Write a Cover Letter" pages put to use. This page guides you through adapting your experiences to the content in your cover letter and its different sections.

In the body of your cover letter (the argument), you should describe the most important qualifications to show why you are a good match for the job and the company.

You should focus your cover letter's body around the two-three qualifications you mention in the introduction. In each paragraph you can concentrate on one quality, seeking to answer the following two questions:

  1. How can I show I am qualified for this position and that I am a good match for the organization?
  2. What have I done that illustrates these qualifications?

How can I show I am qualified for this position and that I am a good match for the organization?

You do not want to only mention the skills that you possess; you also have to show that you possess them! When writing about your skills, you can think of it as telling a story. You should describe the experiences of how you received and grew your skills, mentioning specific places you worked and positions you held. For example:

My communication skills in the workplace have grown because of my internships. When I was an intern at Newberry & Jones, I wrote memos and letters to customers and colleagues on a daily basis. This experience taught me to write professionally and to-the-point.

What have I done that illustrates these qualifications?

Along with explaining your skills, you want to describe how your experience with that skill is unique. Many people may have communication skills, but have you won an award or scholarship for technical writing? Be specific and match this information to your resume

Here are some ideas about what might set you apart:

  • Special projects
    • Explain course work that gives you a type of professional experience.
  • Awards
    • Show that others have recognized the high quality of your work.
    • Include only those awards that relate to the position you desire.
  • Accomplishments
    • Demonstrate how you improved efficiency/productivity at work or school.
    • Include what you did at school that proves your skills.
    • Explain how you set a goal and reached it.

For example:

While at Purdue University, I participated in a collaborative web-consulting project for a Technical Writing class. With two peers, I served as a web consultant for a local business, Patters' Painters. In order to make feasible recommendations for revisions, additions, and deletions to Patters' Painters' website, we conducted interviews, observed the workplace, and completed multiple web analyses...I believe these experiences match the requirements you outline in the job description.

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.