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Author Topic: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!  (Read 1588 times)

Visual Dictionary

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Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« on: August 03, 2008, 11:47:18 AM »
I don't have many reasons beyond "I'm from the area" and "I like your firm's small size, but really I'm desperate!" and all of these firms start to sound the same after a while.  Researching them as a pre-law, needless to say, is tough; it's not as if I can relate to their recent cases.

I'm not complaining; I realize that I'm lucky to be going to a school where 1L firm employment is possible, but is anyone in the same boat?  Am I missing something?  Did anyone enjoy compiling a list of 50-100 firms and targeting letters?  Can I write general letters?  I can't stop procrastinating with this project.

ETA: Damn you, Facebook!  Ever since the newsfeed feature, I can't stop posting news articles and arguing with people over them. 
Yep.

mqt

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 05:44:03 PM »
and I will contact you in a few weeks to see if that is possible.

More appropriate to say something closer to: "I can be contacted at (phone) or (email), and I am available to interview at your convenience." 

If they want to discuss employment further, they will contact you.  If not, I'm sure they really aren't looking forward to you contacting them "in a few weeks" to see if that's possible. 

Also, your first paragraph mostly concerns how employment at their firm will benefit YOU.  While the small firm, hometown thing is important, you spend considerable time explaining what you'll get out of the deal.  They don't care.

That's my impression not knowing anything about you, so take it or leave it, it matters not to me.   

Terrible Ivan

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2008, 06:14:36 PM »
A cover letter is only one-half of the story. The letter should always compliment the resume. Look at your resume, think of the things you wish you could say on it but can't for lack of room. Take the best of those things, filter them for area and specialty relevance to the firm to which you are applying, and then write away.

If you have a hard time coming up with things that are sufficiently different from what is on your resume, try to imagine what you will talk about during an interview. What more do you have to say for yourself that doesn't appear in the resume? What about your work performance, a particular interest that began in first-semester CivPro, etc., is worth expansion?

Good luck.

Ivan


Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2008, 06:32:46 PM »

Also, your first paragraph mostly concerns how employment at their firm will benefit YOU.  While the small firm, hometown thing is important, you spend considerable time explaining what you'll get out of the deal.  They don't care.
 

Disagree.

Particularly when applying in smaller markets, firms want to know that you have a connection to the area, and that you're sending them your resume for some other reason than wanting a paycheck, because the summer is an investment in potential future associates.

Also, firms get thousands of resumes and cover letters. If there's something you can say that makes it look like you put a little bit of time and effort into researching the firm, instead of just sending a form letter, it may help.

Quite frankly, at this point in our careers most of us have little to offer besides being a warm body with a demonstrated capability to learn and willingness to work for a check. You're probably not going to win a firm over with a list of your skills in a cover letter.

mqt

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2008, 07:14:47 PM »

Also, your first paragraph mostly concerns how employment at their firm will benefit YOU.  While the small firm, hometown thing is important, you spend considerable time explaining what you'll get out of the deal.  They don't care.
 

Disagree.

Particularly when applying in smaller markets, firms want to know that you have a connection to the area, and that you're sending them your resume for some other reason than wanting a paycheck, because the summer is an investment in potential future associates.

Also, firms get thousands of resumes and cover letters. If there's something you can say that makes it look like you put a little bit of time and effort into researching the firm, instead of just sending a form letter, it may help.

Quite frankly, at this point in our careers most of us have little to offer besides being a warm body with a demonstrated capability to learn and willingness to work for a check. You're probably not going to win a firm over with a list of your skills in a cover letter.

Which is why I said small-firm, hometown stuff is important.  To clarify, the part about "which will expose ME" is what I took exception to.  I don't dispute that it's important to distinguish a) why one wants to work in a small firm and b) hometown connection.  After discussing that, the letter should point out why the candidate is a good fit for the firm, how it will benefit THEM, etc, rather than saying how it will be a great opportunity for the applicant. 

At the end of the day, that's just how I read that line.  If that's how I read it, its reasonable to conclude that others might as well, including the target of the letter. 

pd112aux

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2008, 07:32:25 PM »
your office’s small size ... will expose me to many practice areas and allow me to meet many of your talented attorneys.

First half is too presumptuous; what if they only need you in one practice area?  Second half is too tool-ish; if they're talented, they know it; they don't need your nose up their asses.

Also, forget the bit about LRW; these people went to law school; they know what LRW will do for you.

Pacavelli

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2008, 04:32:58 PM »
Tag
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natalieag

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2008, 01:51:03 PM »
I'm confused.  Isn't there a rule that they can't accept any contact from a 1L until Dec. 1st? (and usually aren't interested in you a bit until you get those first semester grades anyway?)  Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here...

TimMitchell

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Re: Writing Cover Letters is HARD!
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2008, 05:25:02 PM »
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