Cover Letters Uncovered

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Not all job applications require cover letters, but knowing how to write one is still a useful skill to have just in case you need to in the future.. What is a cover letter exactly? A cover letter is used by employers to gain more insight about your resume, personality and why you would be a good fit for the job. In this LinkedIn article, Jeff Lareau defines a cover letter as, “an introduction that complements your resume, shows a bit of your personality, and addresses issues that might otherwise go unaddressed on your resume alone.” To write a strong cover letter, it’s important to address a specific person, include examples of how you would succeed at the job you’re applying for, and make yourself stand out from other applicants.

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Before starting your cover letter, make sure you research the company you are applying to. According to a Glassdoor article, it’s important to “write like yourself, but also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to. Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply.” In addition to researching, another thing you should do before starting this document is map out your ideas and make an outline. Writing down certain details you want to include and having a rough draft ready can ensure you don’t forget anything.

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After writing your outline and researching the company, find out who will be reading your cover letter so you can address them by name instead of saying “To Whom It May Concern.” You may need to make the effort to send an email or make a call to find out, but it will be worth it as it shows your employer that you are willing to take the extra mile. Think about it, the greeting is the first thing that the reader sees, so make a good first impression by making it personalized, rather than generalized!

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Now you can start writing the body of your letter. Be sure to start off with a strong introduction paragraph, including what position you are interested in, how you heard about it, and a short thesis statement as to why you think you are qualified for the job. In your body paragraphs, you can expand on experiences you included in your resume and talk about how you can apply what you learned from them to the job you are applying for. It is not necessary to list out every single job experience you have. Try focusing on elaborating on 2-3 roles that you believe will showcase that you have the prior experience needed to get this next job. The goal of this section is to highlight the important parts of your resume! This would also be a great time to talk about your Top 5 Clifton Strengths and how you have used them in other experiences. These body paragraphs are an opportunity to showcase your personality and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Even though this is the body of the letter, try to keep these paragraphs concise and to the point. The cover letter shouldn’t take too long to read!

For your conclusion, sum up why you are interested in the job and what you hope to add to the company. In the same article by Career Advice from Glassdoor, they recommend leaving your reader with a strong “call to action [and a] reason for them to contact you.”

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You’re done with your cover letter! Before you submit, be sure to proofread for irrelevant information, typos and repetition. Don’t forget to include contact information in your letter, such as your email and phone number.

 

College Budgeting 101

     As college students with many financial obligations, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of our money.  It only takes a few purchases and the next thing you know, you can find yourself behind on rent, short on cash, and maybe even calling home for some extra help. Luckily, all it takes is a few minutes to budget and your money will be well-managed for that future time period. This article is all about helping CWIB’s members get better at controlling their finances. Once you graduate and enter the real world, you are going to have a lot more expenses to keep track of, so why not start practicing now?

Where To Start

   Sometimes we make purchases without thinking. Start by looking through your bank account and keeping track of what you spend. Whether it’s in an excel spreadsheet or in a physical notebook, writing down your purchases is helpful for looking back and seeing which areas you’re spending too much in. Excel even has multiple templates that will analyze your spending and saving for you. All you have to do is plug in the numbers!

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Getting Down to the Numbers

        In the same notebook or spreadsheet, make a list of your expenses for the month and allot a specific amount of money to cover these expenses. For example: rent-$500, groceries-$45 per week, gas-$80, and entertainment-$60. Don’t forget to set aside money for miscellaneous purchases, such as lunch with a friend, Benny’s on Friday night, or school supplies. If you find that you’re having trouble with spending more than you budgeted for miscellaneous spending, take cash out of your bank account and use that instead. Then once it’s gone, don’t take out more until the next month/week.

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Budgeting With Your Phone

If you want to keep a closer eye on your budget and expenses, using a mobile app is a great way to go! Here is a list of some apps that not only make budgeting even easier, but will also remind you when to pay your bills, calculate your credit score, and more!

  1. Mint: Personal Finance & Money – This app is free and puts all your financial statements in one place, tracks your spending and credit score, and reminds you to pay your bills.mint
  2. Fuget: Budget Planner Tracker – A free app (that also offers an upgrade for purchase) that keeps budgeting simple and easy. This tool tracks income and expenses and maintains a balance so you know how much you have left to spend.image
  3. Clarity Money Budget Manager – Besides helping you find and cancel unnecessary subscriptions, track expenses and savings goals, and keep tabs on your credit score, this app is completely free!clarity
  4. EveryDollar Easy Budgeting App – With optional in-app purchases available, EveryDollar offers free features of a personal budget planner, expense tracker, connections to savings experts, and more.image (1)

 

Saving? What is That?

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        Trying to save up for a new laptop or that new outfit you want to buy? Set specific saving goals with a certain item in mind to motivate yourself. Try to put small amounts of money every week or month and save up for it a little at a time. In some mobile banking apps, you can set savings goals within your savings or checking accounts and when you put money into that goal, they’ll keep track of how close you are to reaching it.

If you sit down and spend a few minutes every week or month to dedicate to organizing your spending, budgeting will become a breeze! Keeping track of what you purchase, taking out cash for spending and setting specific saving goals will help you stop stressing about money so you can focus on your classes and preparing for your future!

 

By: Abby Perkins 

 

 

10 Productivity Tips to Get Through the Semester

     Once the excitement of a new school year fades away, many students would agree that it gets more difficult to stay on top of things. More opportunities to have fun with your friends, attend club events, or just lay in bed and watch Netflix pop up and suddenly we find ourselves having to choose between getting A’s and extracurriculars. What if you could get good grades without having to sacrifice your club activities and social events? These 10 productivity tips will help you maximize your time to the fullest!

1. Write Due Dates Early: Writing assignment due dates a few days early in your planner will ensure that you’re not doing it last minute. Also, seeing your due dates far in advance will allow you to plan your time easily.

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2. Avoid Doing Homework In Bed: According to an article written by Brian Robbin from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, studying in your bed “limits focus and decreases productivity.”

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3. Time Block: To maximize the hours you spend doing homework, schedule the specific amount of time that you’re going to spend on each assignment. For example: “Today I’m going to do Spanish from 1:30 to 2:15, and then BIT from 2:15 to 4:00.”

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4. Take Breaks: To avoid getting burnt out after doing homework for hours on end, take a few breaks to relax and refresh for a few minutes throughout this period. Grab a snack, check Instagram, or take a walk around your apartment. You’ll come back to your desk with a fresh mind!

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5. Put Your Phone Away/Turn Off Notifications: It gets really distracting when a bunch of notifications keeps popping up on your phone or laptop. Put your phone (or laptop) on “Do Not Disturb” or away from where you can see it and worry about your weekend plans later. Out of sight, out of mind!

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6. Write To-Do Lists for Each Day: It’s easier to stay on track when you have a specific list of tasks to complete each day. It’s a great way to prioritize and stay organized while feeling accomplished (who else loves crossing items off a to-do list?).

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7. Listen to Instrumental Music: For the people who like listening to music but find it distracting when studying, try instrumental music instead! It still provides great background noise without the distraction of lyrics.

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8. Schedule Assignments Ahead of Time: This goes along with the to-do lists. On Sunday or Monday, sit down and look at what needs to be done during the week and write down what days you want to work on them.

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9. Switch Up Your Environment: A change of scenery can be refreshing, especially if you’ve been working in your bedroom for the last few hours. Head to Starbucks, Turner’s or the library for a different place to study!

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10. Use a Planner or Calendar: It’s easy to forget tasks and events if you don’t write them down anywhere. Whether it’s in an app on your phone or a physical planner, write everything down to meet those deadlines on time!

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I hope these tips help you become more productive! There are only 24 hours in a day, so making sure you use every minute wisely is so important to ensure you get time to enjoy college while also doing well in school.

 

Standing Out as an Applicant

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It can be intimidating to apply for an interview, internship, or job, but simple changes to your resume and professional mannerisms can make all the difference. The chances of you landing that position is immediately heightened when you stand out against other applicants. As simple as that sounds, many of us still do not take the steps forward on our resumes, LinkedIn’s, and applications to diversify ourselves from our fellow applicants. At last week’s #GirlBoss workshop, CWIB members learned some tips on how to effectively present yourselves from representatives of the organization. Here are the four ways to stand out to employers!

1.Personal Statement—A personal statement is a quick description of yourself, both as a student and a human being, that shares your best attributes with the reader. This statement contains your current aspiring goal, such as receiving an internship, interview, or job opportunity. These few lines about yourself can be put into your resume, LinkedIn, emails to employers, portfolios, and more! A significant part of a personal statement is the inclusion of examples to express why or how you show a specific attribute. For example, one may say, “through strong leadership skills and a motivated attitude, I helped develop a new financial planning theorem.” In interviews, you can break up different lines of your personal statement to apply to different questions you may be asked. These questions may include: Why are you a good candidate for our team?, What are your strengths?, How have you applied yourself in order to be successful? A personal statement is an elevator pitch for employers to show how you are qualified for a position, yet unique from every other “determined, hardworking” applicant.

2. Descriptors—It is important to make use of descriptions when necessary on your resumes, portfolios, and applications. You do not want to simply include a title of a job. Instead, it is important to briefly explain how those jobs helped get you to where you are today. A job title will not tell an employer what you were asked to do or what you learned as part of that job. On paper, would you rather be “Cashier,” or “Cashier: Where I learned basic math skills necessary for running a business and impressive interpersonal communication, while effectively managing my time and prioritizing tasks?” The same goes for leadership positions or club memberships. Explain to the reader how those roles were significant in your academic and professional development. Make yourself truly stand out from the next candidate.  

3. Emails—This is an easy, and sometimes scary, tool we have right at our fingertips. Post-interview follow-up emails can show an employer how dedicated you are. Although you want to make it short and sweet, emails to employers can help them remember your name, rather than tossing it into the large, mental pile of applicants who all want the same job or internship as you. Sending simple emails to connections you have can also lead to vast opportunities. You never know who knows who, so putting your name out there can be extremely beneficial. If you take initiative, they will remember you. Take the leap.

4. Confidence—Yes, it may seem simple, but there is a difference between being confident and being cocky, and sometimes that line gets blurred. Being graceful, yet confident, in your successes goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I am smart and hardworking, which is why I am successful in school,” it is better to say, “As a motivated individual, I strive for success. This is exemplified by my placement on the Dean’s List the past four semesters.” Remember, examples are your friend. Employers will not doubt that you are hard-working if you land a spot on the Dean’s List, but they may question how “smart” you really are without examples to back up your statements. Also, honesty is always the best policy! Stretching the truth to make yourself seem more competent than you really are is a risk you do not want to take.

These members of CWIB pictured below took initiative to ask questions at Power Panel last semester. This is another perfect example of taking initiative, standing out, getting your voice heard, and showing confidence! Take control of your life and your future by being proactive.

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Ultimately, you do not want to be generic on paper. Show the world how you are different from the next person. Each and every one of us has the power to succeed. It is our responsibility to make that known by standing out to every employer.  

By: Allison Wood

Member Spotlight: Emmi Nguyen – Exploring Different Paths

 

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Member: Emmi Nguyen

Year: Junior

Majors: BIT and Management

Fun Fact: She works at Hello Bagel, down South Main Street!

Emmi Nguyen is a junior double majoring in BIT and Management. From getting involved in campus organizations to interning over the summer, Emmi has gotten a taste for different career paths!

Emmi joined CWIB to build a network of women who share the same goals of developing themselves professionally and getting a taste of the business world. She admits that the talks featuring Morning Brew and Victoria’s Secret were her favorite events to attend. Emmi has also participated in CWIB’s mentorship program. Lastly, her most memorable experience in the organization thus far has been going on the NYC trek!

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Emmi is also involved in Rotaract Club at Virginia Tech, Vietnamese Student Association, and is undergoing the application process for the Consulting Group!

Last spring, Emmi traveled to Deloitte University or the Deloitte Case Competition, where teams comprising of undergraduate students from schools across the country presented solutions to hypothetical consulting-related case studies. She was heavily involved in the communication between Deloitte and her team and the organization of ideas in preparation for the case competition. You can read more about her team’s experience in the competition by clicking here! While Emmi wasn’t originally interested in consulting prior to participating in the Deloitte Case Competition, she came out of the experience with a newfound interest for the career and a taste for the culture of a Big 4 accounting firm! When asked about her most valuable takeaway from the experience, she described, “being able to experience it, it’s different having a company talk to you about their culture and actually experiencing it for yourself!”

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Continuing her career path exploration, Emmi interned for BAE Systems in New York this past summer. During this internship, she got to experience a smaller, more specialized, and age-diverse environment compared to the young professional culture of Deloitte. Despite their differences, Emmi is grateful for the exposure to two vastly different companies, mentioning, “I loved both experiences because I got a taste of two different paths.”

Growing up next to Dulles Airport and participating in her high school’s Robotics Team, Emmi developed an interest in the Aerospace industry and sees herself managing and developing business strategies in that industry! However, with her recent exposure to the consulting world, she is on the fence about which career path to pursue. With internship offers from EY and Lockheed Martin, she has set herself up for success no matter which career path she chooses!

Emmi recognizes that our time in college is short and hopes to continue making connections and building her network through organizations she’s involved in! Her advice to underclassmen is to “take any opportunity you can, whether that’s joining a club or competing in a small competition.” Being bold and taking advantage of opportunities as they come has worked well for Emmi and I encourage you to do the same! You never know what you can learn about yourself along the way.

CWIB is very proud of you, Emmi! We know that you will be successful in whatever career path you choose.

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