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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

radcen

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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

I always read that you need to tout not just what you can do, but what you have accomplished (i.e.: what sets you apart). Examples are stating things like, "Saved company 30% in overhead by re-organizing filing system", or some other such thing.

Ok, I get the concept. Sounds fine and dandy. But... I work in civil engineering. Simply put, I design streets and utilities and they get built. Period. There really is no streamlining or improving of the process or great savings of time or money.

Now, I am efficient and within budget, and keep up with technology, but that's not the same as being all "innovative" in the sense portrayed above. I do know that not everybody in my position keeps up adequately with technology (AutoCAD specifically), so that actually a plus, but still it doesn't sound exciting.

How can I spin a cover letter in this type of scenario?

Thanks.
 

MaggieD

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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

I always read that you need to tout not just what you can do, but what you have accomplished (i.e.: what sets you apart). Examples are stating things like, "Saved company 30% in overhead by re-organizing filing system", or some other such thing.

Ok, I get the concept. Sounds fine and dandy. But... I work in civil engineering. Simply put, I design streets and utilities and they get built. Period. There really is no streamlining or improving of the process or great savings of time or money.

Now, I am efficient and within budget, and keep up with technology, but that's not the same as being all "innovative" in the sense portrayed above. I do know that not everybody in my position keeps up adequately with technology (AutoCAD specifically), so that actually a plus, but still it doesn't sound exciting.

How can I spin a cover letter in this type of scenario?

Thanks.

"I design . . . and they get built." Not much to go on there, Radcen.

Do you liaison with project managers, help write the specifications? Team meetings? Design to budget? Provide engineering specs for quotation? Really, you need to dissect everything you do and list a bunch of sentences that start with verbs. From there, it would be fairly easy for others to help you.
 

Jerry

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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

I always read that you need to tout not just what you can do, but what you have accomplished (i.e.: what sets you apart). Examples are stating things like, "Saved company 30% in overhead by re-organizing filing system", or some other such thing.

Ok, I get the concept. Sounds fine and dandy. But... I work in civil engineering. Simply put, I design streets and utilities and they get built. Period. There really is no streamlining or improving of the process or great savings of time or money.

Now, I am efficient and within budget, and keep up with technology, but that's not the same as being all "innovative" in the sense portrayed above. I do know that not everybody in my position keeps up adequately with technology (AutoCAD specifically), so that actually a plus, but still it doesn't sound exciting.

How can I spin a cover letter in this type of scenario?

Thanks.
Numbers are a big deal. How many miles of curb&gutter have you designed? How many square miles of property? The 'saved 30% on overhead' is a great number to use also.
 

Fisher

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I wouldn't obsess about it and create something awkward. I have no idea what these projects were so I would go with dropping in a teaser like:

"I have substantial experience in the economical designing and engineering of both new and retrofit municipal construction of utility, drain, and streetscape projects." or whatever applies to you and then have something in your conclusion about "I will gladly provide you additional information regarding my training and experience upon your request, and answer any questions that you may have."
 

ocean515

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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

I always read that you need to tout not just what you can do, but what you have accomplished (i.e.: what sets you apart). Examples are stating things like, "Saved company 30% in overhead by re-organizing filing system", or some other such thing.

Ok, I get the concept. Sounds fine and dandy. But... I work in civil engineering. Simply put, I design streets and utilities and they get built. Period. There really is no streamlining or improving of the process or great savings of time or money.

Now, I am efficient and within budget, and keep up with technology, but that's not the same as being all "innovative" in the sense portrayed above. I do know that not everybody in my position keeps up adequately with technology (AutoCAD specifically), so that actually a plus, but still it doesn't sound exciting.

How can I spin a cover letter in this type of scenario?

Thanks.


My two cents.

I placed the words above in bold that should be stressed in your cover letter. It should be about 3-4 short paragraphs, on one page.

The fact is, a cover letter is designed to let an employer know that you are experienced, capable, and you take employment seriously. If you are efficient, and stay within budget, and you have taken the time on your own to stay current, you need to let them know that. Resume's are fluff. The cover letter should be professionally formated, nothing cute or off the wall.

A new employee represents a risk, and involves an investment that is going to cost your future employer money until you can get up to speed. Let them know you understand that, and that the experience you bring will turn that risk into reward in as short a time as possible.

EDIT: Read Jerry's post, #3. Great points. Use them.
 

beerftw

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Need advice: Struggling with employment cover letters

I always read that you need to tout not just what you can do, but what you have accomplished (i.e.: what sets you apart). Examples are stating things like, "Saved company 30% in overhead by re-organizing filing system", or some other such thing.

Ok, I get the concept. Sounds fine and dandy. But... I work in civil engineering. Simply put, I design streets and utilities and they get built. Period. There really is no streamlining or improving of the process or great savings of time or money.

Now, I am efficient and within budget, and keep up with technology, but that's not the same as being all "innovative" in the sense portrayed above. I do know that not everybody in my position keeps up adequately with technology (AutoCAD specifically), so that actually a plus, but still it doesn't sound exciting.

How can I spin a cover letter in this type of scenario?

Thanks.

my best advice is not to lie,and not to over exagerate,rather your cover letter is just an introduction to your resume,is should cover how you work,and the type of person you are.

i have an entire book that explains cover letters and resumes i got for free when leaving active duty,basically you want to portay confidence in your ability,knowledge on the subject,and strong work ethic,your resume will cover your experience the cover letter should portray you.
 

Green Balls

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Whatever you do, don't do like someone I know. He works at a meat counter. He actually wrote "Using the psychology of color, I strategically placed the salmon in the meat case and increased sales".

My suggestion is to search for other cover letters and use the same type of grammar. It's also wise to seek out someone who writes resumes. It may cost you a small chunk of change, but it pays off in the end. I went that route and received way more job leads than what I had before. Research key words to use in a cover letter/resume.
 

tech30528

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