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.
Mention that you have enclosed a copy of your resume, highlighting your professional experience and your education. You may want to include coursework from law school that would show your knowledge of subjects important to the employer. Be specific!
Close the letter asking for specific action on the part of the employer or telling the employer that you will contact their office at a specific time. Restate your interest in the position, and state when and where they may contact you.
Cute, humorous, or "wild" cover letters almost never work, but do provide some entertainment in the personnel department Think twice before experimenting too fully.
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Hi, I’m Harrison Barnes. I’m serious about improving Lawyers’ legal careers. My only question is, will it be yours?
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.
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