If you will be applying for entry-level finance jobs or finance or accounting internships in the near future, you should include a cover letter with your application and resume. Writing a cover letter isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it’s important to do some solid research about the companies you are targeting, present the letter in an appropriate style and include a few key items to make a good impression.
In the first installment of this two-part post, we’ll discuss what you need to do to get a good start, doing the research.
Getting Started on a Finance Job Cover Letter … Research First
Before you start typing, you’ll want to do some research first. It’s crucial that in your finance job cover letter and throughout the interview process you portray your knowledge about and interest in the company in question.
Why? If you want to distinguish yourself from other candidates and vie for the best finance positions and internships available you need to go the extra yard.
In your research, you’ll want to learn about the organization’s goals. This information will come in handy when you’re explaining why your skills and background will help them REACH those goals. In cover letters and resumes for finance careers, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for quantifiable accomplishments.
If you can tailor your accomplishments to the target company’s goals, you can increase your odds of getting an interview, and ultimately the job.
A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) asked employers about their hiring and business goals for 2013. Employers are focusing on efficiency, with 68 percent looking to improve performance and productivity.
In addition, organizations are also focused on growth, with 61 percent looking to expand the business’s customer base. So, start digging.
You can learn a lot about a business by visiting its corporate website and examining recent press releases, videos and blog posts.
But don’t stop there; start working your network (if you don’t have a network, start building one!). Ask yourself who you know, who might know someone “in the know,” at your target companies.
Start Working Your Connections
Next, make a list, and work your connections to get an introduction to people who currently work at the companies you are targeting. Try to get face-to-face meetings if possible, or a phone or Skype conversation, to learn more about the company and its goals. You might also be able to use this person’s name in your cover letter to give it more credence if the person is agreeable.
All of this research may sound like a lot of work (and it is), but it’s worth it. Senior accounting and finance managers are looking for candidates who will contribute to the company’s bottom line; have knowledge of the business’s goals and structure; and would be passionate about working for their firm. Your research and how you demonstrate that your personal accomplishments and background would contribute to the company are necessary if you want a career in finance.
In part two of this finance careers cover letter post we’ll talk about the nuts and bolts – presentation, style and what to include from top to bottom.
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Isaacs, K. “Cover Letter Tips for Finance Professionals.” Monster.com. Available at: http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-tips/finance-cover-letter-tips/article.aspx. Accessed October 24, 2013.
“2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Report 01. Graduate Management Admission Council, 2013. Available at http://www.gmac.com/~/media/Files/gmac/Research/Employment%20Outlook/crs-2013-hiring-report-01. Accessed Oct. 28, 2013.
DeChesare, B. “The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template You’ve Been Waiting For.” Mergers & Inquisitions website. Available at http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-cover-letter-template/. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.
“Example of a covering letter for a graduate finance traineeship.” University of Kent website. Available at http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/covlet.htm. Accessed Oct. 30, 2013.
“Investment Banking Resume;” “Private Equity Resume;” “Hedge Fund Resume.” Street of Walls website. Available at: http://www.streetofwalls.com/. Accessed Oct. 25, 2013.