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Tips from Paralegal Today on how to construct a cover letter
The Cover Letter From New Paralegals
The cover letter is your initial contact with the prospective employer. The purpose of the cover letter is to convince the employer to read your resume and invite you for an interview. Therefore, like the resume it has to be error-proof and neat. It should be well-written since employers are seeking paralegals with good writing skills.
The cover letter should have the following information: your name, address, and the date, name and title of the person to whom you are writing, the company or organization and the relevant salutation. Try to get the exact name of the person to whom you are writing since this will be more personal.
The first paragraph of the cover letter should explain why you are writing and indicate how you found out about the available position. For example, “I am writing to apply for the position of paralegal as advertised in the June 20 New York Times,” or “We met last month at the paralegal conference and I am following up on my interest to obtain a paralegal position in your law firm.”
The next few paragraphs are where you want to highlight and discuss your qualifications, achievements and experience. Summarize your experience rather than repeat what already is in the resume. Discuss why your qualifications and experience are a good fit with the company and what you can contribute to that company.
The final paragraph closes the letter by thanking the employers for their consideration of your application and notifying them where they can contact you for an interview. Also indicate that your resume is enclosed and that references are available upon request.
The Cover Letter from Experienced Paralegals
The cover letter is your initial introduction to the prospective employer. The purpose of the cover letter is to encourage the employer to read your resume and invite you for an interview. Therefore, like the resume, it has to be error-proof, neat and well-written.
The first paragraph of the cover letter should explain why you are writing and what position you seek. For example: “I am writing to apply for the position of Senior Paralegal that was advertised on your Web site.” Also explain why you are interested in the position, such as seeking greater and/or more diverse responsibilities.
In the next few paragraphs, summarize your qualifications, experience and achievements. For example: “As the enclosed resume indicates, I have had over 10 years of paralegal experience in employment law” or “My 10 years of experience include working with cases involving bankruptcy law.” Follow up as to why this experience will benefit the law firm. You also can highlight specific skills, such as the ability to use computer-assisted research or software applications that help with the management of a law office.
The final paragraph closes the letter by thanking the employers for their consideration of your application and notifying the employers where they can contact you for an interview. Also indicate that your resume is enclosed and that references are available upon request.
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The 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half Legal provides information on which areas of law are in demand and what your salary range could be.
The 2013 NALA National Utilization and Compensation Survey Report provides paralegal salary data based on many factors, such as field of law, region of the country, education level, and type of employer. For more information on paralegal salaries from NALA, please go to: http://www.nala.org/survey.aspx