After our cover letter peer review, I feel much more confident about many aspects of my rough draft. My group members had positive feedback about many content-related aspects, such as the types of skills I listed in my “interest” paragraph. Going forward, I plan on focusing on sentence structure and eliminating unnecessarily wordy passages. My desire paragraph felt a little muddy and vague, so I should be sure to add specific details about why I am applying, where my passion comes from, etc.
I feel as though my group had a very effective peer review method; we swapped papers, being sure to take the time to read each other’s papers thoroughly and taking care to address major issues before focusing in on surface-level details. Once we had read each group member’s papers, we reconvened and discussed our comments by examining one paper at a time as a group. I was grateful to have two extra sets of eyes to catch small errors and suggest structural and contextual changes.
In many of my other classes, it is stressed that peer review is supposed to be solely about discussing deeper-level concepts and issues, leaving surface-level errors for the author to comb through later. In writing a cover letter, though, attention to detail is extremely important. It felt awkward making comments about missing commas or the need for an extra line of space at first. But these comments were most appreciated.
I’ve got to be honest: before this assignment, I had almost no professional writing experience. I haven’t written a resume since high school, and my current job required only an online application and a quick interview to establish that I was intelligent enough to keep from slicing my own hand off. Because of my inexperience, I figured that I would encounter many challenges while writing my cover letter. And I did, except I was relieved at how formulaic the process was. While I struggled with many of the “seven Cs” discussed in chapter 2, I could at least easily understand what each part of the AIDA format was asking me for.
Going forward, I’m glad that I’ve had this practice to give me perspective when it comes to creating and sending cover letters in the future. I have a better understanding of what kind of thinking is required, how long the process takes and how much an attention to detail matters. I’m sure that, when the time comes, I will be even more nervous about getting every single aspect correct, and I have to accept that not every cover letter is going to be 100% perfect. Above all, though, this project has taught me the importance of cover letters—they convey to a potential employer the very first impression of me, and that could make or break my future plans. No pressure.