How To Write A Cover Letter For An Aspiring Data Analyst
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Creating a cover letter is about telling a story, let me show you how.
Creating a cover letter is all about finding balance. You should balance boasting about your education and experience and being humble. You should balance showing your excitement for the position with an understanding that you cannot show too much excitement. Your cover letter should be organized, offering enough information so that the employer knows you can do the job without going overboard and boring the employer with tedium. I will break the cover letter down into three parts: why them, why you, and accomplishments. The beginning and the end of the cover letter are always the same, and the style/appearance should match your resume.
Your resume should always start and end the same way. The same type of information should be in the introduction and closing. The top of your cover letter should stylistically match the top of your resume, for consistency. You should sign the bottom of your cover electronically via a PDF or image.
At the top of your cover letter, you should include the date, the name of the hiring manager (contact HR if you cannot find this on your own), the hiring manager’s title, and the name of the company (see the example for a reference). You should always address the hiring manager using his or her professional title (Vice President Doe) or education title (Dr. Doe).
The first paragraph is very basic and simple. You should write what position you are applying for, where both geographically and at what company, and how you found the job posting (e.g., I am writing to apply for the data analyst position in the New York office of IT Consulting Staff, Inc. that I found on Indeed.com). Then, you should finish the first paragraph with 2-3 sentences that mirror your resume’s executive summary without copying it (e.g., With three years of experience and a bachelor of science degree, I meet the qualifications described in the job posting for this position. I will use my experiences to excel in the position of data analyst, as I will describe in the rest of this letter).
The closure should be as straight forward as the introduction. You should thank the person for applying, describe what is enclosed with the cover letter, offer the easiest way to contact you, and give your earliest start date and salary expectations. You should give a relevant e-mail address (e.g., personal Gmail) and working mobile phone number. After conducting salary research, it is a show of good faith to offer what you expect the salary range for this position to be, to ensure that the organization and you are on the same page. Similarly, putting your earliest start date gives the company with information to get you through to the first round of interviews without having to go through a mandatory HR screen.
The body will consist of three to four paragraphs: why them, why you, and what you are doing to excel in this role. You can put these in any order you wish, but I suggest putting them in the order listed above.
In the why them paragraph, you should describe why you are interested in this company, more than simply putting you found the job on the internet. You should go into detail (after conducting research on the company’s website and on google) of projects you are interested in, awards the company received, the company culture, or anything else that you think is relevant.
In the why you section, mimic the language of the job posting. Try to use the same verbs and the same processes to why that you have the experience to do well in the position. Describe your story, in brief, and offer a compelling argument that you can do this position with little training. Use your education and internship experiences as a catalyst for the why you.
In the what you are doing section, describe any projects that you worked on, skills that you obtained, and programs that you excel at to show that you can do this work. If you are an expert in R, and the company uses SPSS, describe why your experience using R will translate into using SPSS. If you have a big project under your belt, add details on how you did the job of data analyst (even without the title) in your work. You want to give a compelling argument as to why your data analyst skills are a good match for the position.
Finally, there are several other items to consider when writing your cover letter. Be sure that you edit your cover letter for grammar and style. A poorly written cover letter will get your application thrown out quickly. Try to limit your cover letter to one, single-spaced page, including the introduction and conclusion. You can use an 11-point font, if necessary. You also need to ensure you have all the facts correct. Study the job description, and do as much Google searching as you can. Do not write about MySQL if the company does not use MySQL. A factually inaccurate cover letter shows a lack of initiative on the part of a data analyst, someone whose job is to be detail-oriented. Finally, show a bit of personality. You do not want to write a generic cover letter. Write something that shows that you are a real person.
Here’s an example: