The first step in writing your
cover letter is to determine your unique
These are the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that you possess
and are your strongest assets.
Some definitions follow:
Skills � what you have learned to do.
- 揝oft� skills � leadership, teamwork, communication, risk taking,
consulting, customer service, managing vendors, etc.
- 揌ard� skills � technical skills like cost accounting, analysis,
engineering, html, process improvement, project management, foreign
languages, negotiation, etc.
Knowledge � information you hold, this is often industry-specific
or things you know about but do not actually do.
- Examples � familiar with the aerospace industry, understand database
design (although you may not actually do this), understand calculus, etc.
Abilities � these underlie both your knowledge and skills. Without
an innate ability you would neither gain knowledge nor learn how to do
- For example, not all people can reason in three dimensional space.
Those people would never be able to learn to do an isometric drawing, fly
an airplane, or operate a fork lift.
- Even if you do have the underlying ability, it is not useful (or
marketable) until you have built skills- or knowledge-based upon it.
The focus of your sell in the cover letter will be on Skills and
Knowledge, in that order.
Assignment: Now, an activity for you. Using your resume�
- Highlight your skill sets in one color.
- Highlight your knowledge sets in another color.
Here is a sample of a resume that has been reviewed for knowledge and
skills. Skills are listed in green,
knowledge sets are listed in gold. A summary is listed at right.
- Created and implemented new technology
strategy based on outsourcing, resulting in
reduction of 2 staff positions, improved service to constituents
through reliability and availability.
- Managed marketing budget constituting 25% of
departmental budget, shifted spend from print to web-based resources.
- Negotiated contracts with 12 vendors of
technology services, served as consultant to
vendors to improve product offerings and service to own
- Allocated annual budget of $10 million and
supervised staff of 12. Over duration of
employment reduced budget by 11%.
- Created new organizational structure for
office, including determination of positions, job
descriptions, and staffing budget in aerospace
- Strategic planning
- Business-to-business relationships
- Business-to-consumer relationships
- Organizational Design
- Position Creation
- Customer Service
- Aerospace Industry
- Multifunctional Coordination
The list you have just created is a list of skills and knowledge you have
to offer employers.
Is it complete?
If not, then add text to your resume to demonstrate any missing skills or
Keep the list you just created on hand � you will need it later.