Recipe for an I-Banking Cover Letter

Posted by The Editors on June 14, 2011

In cooking, basic ingredients form the start of a good dish. But the way you combine the ingredients also affects the outcome. The same is true for your cover letter. Careful choice of words, tone and aesthetics are essential to creating a pleasing product.

The "Write" Stuff

Because firms may use cover letters to evaluate writing ability, make sure your grammar is flawless and you've spelled all names correctly. As with your resume, proofread for typos.

Lookin' Good

To increase the professional look of your application, use the same paper, contact information, header, and font style in both your cover letter and resume. It's also acceptable-and often encouraged-to email applications. Don't let the informality of email change the way you put your documents together.

A Well-Tuned Tone

The tone of your cover letter should be professional and persuasive. Banking recruiters tell us they want letters that show candidates to be aggressive and knowledgeable. Use concise sentences and be direct.

At the same time, inject plenty of enthusiasm and genuine interest into your letter.

Cover Letter Ingredients

There are two basic types of cover letters: those responding to a specific job opening and those serving as letters of introduction. The latter is sometimes called a broadcast letter, and it can lead to opportunities where no job opening presently exists. Broadcast letters can play a more important role than those responding to specific openings or required for on-campus recruiting.

While your cover letters should follow a basic structure, don't write a form letter. Develop an outline. Then write a clear, concise, and well thought-out summary that shows you offer exactly what an investment bank needs.

The Basic Cover Letter Format

When it comes to cover letters, you can follow a general recipe. Once you've learned it, you can vary your approach to suit each position, industry and employer.

Every cover letter should include:

. Your contact information

. Date

. Employer's contact information

. Paragraph 1-introduction (reason for writing)

. Paragraph 2-what you offer them

. Paragraph 3-what happens next

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