A cover letter is an introduction. You use a cover letter to market your skills and abilities to the employer receiving your resume. When you write a non-legal cover letter, you have the opportunity to sell your skills and abilities, to an employer who may not understand why a law school graduate is interested in the position. The key to a good non-legal cover letter is how you sell your transferable skills
and how specific you can be about your accomplishments and how they relate to the employer's needs.
The first paragraph concisely states why you are writing. This is where you should state whether you are responding to a specific advertisement, following up on a personal lead, or applying for a position you read about during the research phase of your career search. Keep the introductory paragraph simple and concise.
Focus on the transferable skills that the employer is looking for to fill the position. You will have to convince the employer that your law school training is appropriate for the position. Be prepared to discuss two
of your transferable skills in this paragraph, and be specific about why the employer should select you. Consider the competition. The more creative you can be in presenting your accomplishments in a way that satisfies the employer's need, the more curious he or she may become about your professional ability. Be specific! The employer receiving the information cannot take the time to be creative about where vou would fit in within the organization.
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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.