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Mar 31st, 2003, 01:00 PM #1----
Never done one of these before. It will go out to someone responsible for a bunch of NGOs. What information should i NOT include in there ? Do i talk in specific examples about previous experiences, or just give one or two examples ?
i tend to ramble when i write. What are definite areas not to discuss, in a cover letter?
If any one could offer any of their help, it would be much appreciated. Muchas gracias.
Mar 31st, 2003, 01:31 PM #2----
Nadia, why don’t you write something, post it here, and let us look at it. Emphasize in your cover letter what motivates you to work for the NGO, and not necessarily what you have done (that can be covered in your Resume). Always tailor your Resume/Cov ltr to the job you are applying for. Don't do mass mailing. Even if you do mass mailing, still try to make it personal.
Mar 31st, 2003, 01:52 PM #3----
NYA, Thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
i am kind of embarassed about putting it up here, i don't have that much actual on-the-ground experience. Plus i think the people who check this Forum are vastly more intellectual than i am. i'm just a student. i might PM it to you instead.
No, it won't be a mass mailing. It's going out to one individual who's responsible for a whole bunch of NGOs in Kinshasa. i just saw this example of a cover-letter from the "Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Cover-Letters" - isn't this waaaaaaaaaaay too informal?
~ ~ ~
Mr. Frank Randall, Partner
Randall, Jerneys and Calpert Inc.
101 Stratford Drive
Tempe, AZ 12345
Dear Mr. Randall,
There’s a reason why:
• Friends hand me the dinner bill to divvy up
• My checkbook always balances at the end of each month
• My three kids are never late for events
• Community groups look to me to organize events
I’m a “detail person” — the kind of person you need as your administrative assistant.
For the last five years, I’ve handled all the scheduling, finances, and logistics for my family of five. It’s time for me to get back into the corporate work force and put my organizational talents to use there.
I’ll contact you in the next few days to see if you or one of your associates needs an assistant.
The problem is that, you say i should tailor my cover letter/resume for the position i am applying for. In this case, the guy will place me in a position that he thinks is suitable for me, he has the pick of a whole bunch of different NGOs. So i don't know how to tailor it specifically - the position could be anything because it depends upon the NGO - and that depends upon him. Do i make any sense?
One quick question - i have always started off my previous cover letters with "Dear Mr./Ms.". Is this still OK or is this too conventional ?
Mar 31st, 2003, 01:59 PM #4----
Start with "Dear Sir or Madame", (unless you know the person you are addressing to).
Let me write something quick for you. Give me a few minutes. In between my lunch, and phone calls, I think I can pull something for you. At least a start.
Mar 31st, 2003, 01:59 PM #5----
Yeah I am not sure if the letter you posted would get you the job. Cover letters need to be professional and without spelling mistakes.
If you are going after NGO's, and since I assume this is your first ever "job" in the industry. It would be good to highlight the reasons why you want to enter that field and career goals. No one wants to hear about an applicants ability to counduct household chores or other irrelevant experience.
If you want I can send you a sample from a non-profit perspective. I help out with one in NYC and often interview prospective employees.
ANd leave the 'e'off the Madam(e) unless the NGO is in the redlight district.
Mar 31st, 2003, 02:03 PM #6----
i could kiss you guys right now (but i won't). Thank you soooooooooooo much. NYA - if it doesn't take away from your lunch break, yes i would really appreciate that. Sorry to bug you and ask you to do this. i feel really bad. Don't do it if it's gonna take away from something else. If i get the position, then i'll send you a souvenir from Kinshasa - i promise. CH, same for you. Sorry to bug you guys.
No, that was just a sample cover-letter. i wouldn't dream of addressing someone like that. It will be more professional and formal, Insha'Allah.
>>It would be good to highlight the reasons why you want to enter that field and career goals.<<
Mar 31st, 2003, 02:18 PM #7----
Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
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Start with "Dear Sir or Madame",
Mar 31st, 2003, 02:36 PM #8----
Dear Sir or Madam, (or Dear Mr. Ms. Name)
I am writing to you regarding the NGO employment opportunities that your office coordinates. I have a deep interest in civic and developmental issue, and an awareness of humanitarian concerns faced in various countries on the African Continent. I am currently completing my BA??? In ??? at ??Canada, and I will be available for full time employment in ??Month, 2003.
As my resume indicates, I have unpaid (internship???) work experience…..working in ……. During that job, I gained an exposure to community issues and the role that NGOs plays. Through this job, I gained valuable skills and knowledge, but beyond that, my strong communication skills and high level of motivation are well suited for a job with an NGO. I would particularly like to emphasize my administrative and managerial skills through my experience in directly fundraising programs (or any other programs that you have been part of) for a non-profit org (???). Through these, I expressed my ability to work under pressure and create success by reaching program goals under budgetary and time constraints. Furthermore, my qualitative expertise, excellent interpersonal skills and enjoyment in working as a team member makes me an ideal candidate for a position with an NGO.
If you need any additional information concerning my background, or wish to arrange for an interview, please let me know. I can be contacted…..phone…..(evening day) or e-mail……
I look forward to hearing from you.
Note to Nadia……This is just a quick one. Why don’t you play around with it. When you are done writing, post it here (please don’t be shy, we all need each other), and I am sure you will get many good inputs from a lot of people here. Lots of luck..
You should include a couple of sentences on your Trip to Afghanistan (was that part of an NGO?) if so, you can say that you gained first hand knowledge of the challenges that the NGOs face in Afghanistan after decades of civil war.
Mar 31st, 2003, 04:15 PM #9----
NYA, that's fantastic. Thank you. i have finished my cover letter, and am now working on my resume. i used some of what you wrote as a template, put in my own personal details, and it LOOKS as though it is coming together Masha'Allah. If i have the guts, i'll PM it to you. Be warned - it's short on actual work experience so be prepared to laugh So what i have been forced to do is stress on the voluntary internship of last year and some educational experiences - let's see whether or not it works.
i'm not applying for a paid internship, i'm stressing it's all voluntary. i'll meet my own expenses Insha'Allah. Right now i'll be happy if i get to do some paper shredding for the NGO, as long as it's somewhere in Africa.
i need to e-mail it to someone today, that's why i am in such a rush. Thanks a million for your help; i really appreciate it. It was really generous of you to take your time out and type that all out, inbetween a lunch break and phone calls, etc. Really appreciate that Will never forget it.
Thanks a million.
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