What’s the first impression of anyone you meet in-person? Dressing style, walking style, the way they talk or even the perfume they wear. That’s why it is called the first impression, as it is the introductory hit. The features of a personality which matters the most to you are the ones which make or break your first impression.
Now imagine meeting someone over a text communication. You haven’t yet delved into their background and other personal details. This is the first ‘breaking-the-ice’ scene. The only impressionable asset you possess is your writing. It does not only include the language and style but also the thought behind it.
Management degree admissions to most leading universities require candidates to send a cover letter with their applications. This is the first meeting of a potential student and the school. It is important to get the first act right in order to get the ball rolling for further steps. We look into five things which shape the art of writing the perfect cover letter:
Do not copy paste
Do not source letters of previous applicants or hunt them via discussion forums and change the name, date and college and send them. It is good to get an idea of how to write and what to include from other’s letters but remember to write your own cover letter. It is like using someone else’s definition to define your objective to get into the business school. Write afresh and write on your own.
Do not generalize
Every business school has their own course styles and specializations. Write your cover letter keeping in mind the school you’re applying to. If you’re interested to apply to a b-school where marketing analytics is a specialization and you’re using generic marketing interest and reason it for your admission, it is most likely they’re not going to find you befitting their criteria. Understand who they’re looking for and hit the nail on the head.
Be objective and do not brag
Actions speak louder than words. Work with this in mind and you’re going to write a crisp, believable and an objective cover letter. More than just saying what you’re interested in doing, showcase them cases of your interest in practical application. Example: A research which you have been doing about the most expensive paintings in the world for the last few years out of sheer interest is perfect even when you’re applying for a marketing specialization as the search is for the intent and not the industry or task. You can relate it to explaining how a painter can become a brand in an industry which defeats the notion of specialization. In a nutshell, showcase rather than just say.
Be grammatically correct
In a world where knowledge is available at the click of a button, reasoning language barriers as an excuse many not be the best idea. It is not only about the picture but the perfection of the picture. Run through various grammatical checks; see if your sentences are making sense together or if you have been too verbose somewhere and too tacit on an important criterion.
The last minute final checks
Please, please ensure you proofread your emails or snail mails before you send them out. It is always a good idea to get a second proof-reading from someone else. You get the chance once. Do not miss out because of an incorrect email subject or forgetting to attach your CV in the email. It happens, so please be sure.
It’s like a personal interview in text. Treat it like one, be relaxed and be sure. Most importantly, be yourself, do not fake or downplay. Good luck!