Writing that perfect cover letter for the course aux stages is one of the most important
tools at your disposal. It is a self-portrait all the while acting as your reel. It contains
invaluable information, which is typically not exemplified by one’s curriculum vitae. An
anecdote or an achievement, in any event the main question remains: how do you
attract the reader(s)? I believe the acronym “PREP”, which is required in many ways
while writing this letter, is in my most humble opinion the best way of summing up this
P, for presentation; the style and format of one’s letter as you already know are very
important. An excellent presentation attracts credibility to one’s candidature. In this
regard, there should not be any spelling and grammatical mistakes. This simple step is
where one’s willingness to meet you begins. You want to be taken seriously and want
the letter to be read in its entirety. Would you show up to a formal interview in jeans and
a white t-shirt? First impressions are crucial, we all know that!
R, for representation; this letter is about you! What have you done to separate yourself
from the rest of the candidates? Are you identified by your peers or do you identify
yourself as a unique individual and why? This must be clear in your letter, because
every firm is a team and as in every team chemistry is required. Everyone is unique in
his or her own way; make this your number one priority since this is your opportunity to
shine. A word of advice: we are all law students; clearly this is not why we are unique.
What makes you unique is your story, in other words your experiences that shaped you
as an individual prior to writing your letter and the individual you will strive to be after
that same letter. Show us who you are, tell us your story.
E, for expression; clarity, precision and the coupling of all your experiences in a positive
manner are essential. Remember, the recruiters are in the presence of a letter; you are
not physically in front of them, however your self-portrait is, your cover letter. A wordy
letter or a repetitive letter gets old quick. Are you tired of the word letter yet? Get out of
your comfort zone and think out of the box. Impressing the reader is essential,
answering most questions that can arise yet leaving some of a surprise is ideal.
Navigate your reader; hence try to control the questions that may surface by anticipating
them or even asking and answering them yourself! In doing so, you will be successful in
leading the dialogue. A dialogue, which will in most likelihood translate into a personal
meeting, an interview. Thereafter this interesting discourse you have sparked will
continue and its continuance will positively reinforce your self-portrait because of the
path you have constructed for yourself.
P, for purpose; every sentence must be meaningful, since typically a good letter is no
longer than a page. If you are questioning a sentences purpose it is most likely because
it does not have one. Every letter, every word, every punctuation serves a purpose like
the nuts and bolts of an engine playing their individual role in an ensemble aiming for a
greater purpose. Thus picture each and every sentence as a new opportunity to sell
yourself. It’s these very opportunities you must capitalize on. You want to avoid losing
the interest of your reader, the very same reader who will decide whether they want to
meet you. Meeting you, your letter can very well be that ticket!
Tasy Bacolias – Having graduated from Civil Law and currently doing his Common Law degree at the University of Ottawa, Tasy has worked two summers at RSS.