Hi, I’m Harlan Luxenberg. I’m the President and CEO of Professional Data Analysts, a small company that specializes in evaluating public health programs. I have reviewed hundreds of applications for evaluator positions over the years, and I wanted to share what I find to be the essential ingredients for an application that we want to follow up with.
- Do your homework. Research the company you’re applying to and understand what makes them unique. Make your cover letter stand out by displaying your intimate knowledge of the company in your cover letter. It also never hurts to ask for an informational interview before applying to make a connection and learn more about the company.
- Don’t forget you’re applying for a job and not a graduate program. A company wants to hear about what you bring to the table, but also wants to know that you understand what they’re looking for. Don’t just list your skills and experience and assume that the person reviewing applications will be able to draw the connections about how those skills serve their needs. Make sure you explicitly address what the company is looking for.
- Be excited!!! If you’re excited about a specific aspect of the company, share that. Whether it’s about an employee that you heard speak at AEA, a topic area you want to learn more about, or something else unique to the company – it’s important to say what draws you to the employer. If you’re excited about working with them, they are more likely to be excited about working with you.
- Don’t overdo it. Your application should be professional, concise, and in PDF format, but don’t retell your resume in your cover letter. Don’t add extraneous formats, styling, fonts, infographics, etc. Employers are looking for someone to interview, they don’t need to know your whole story yet.
- Proofread! This should be a no-brainer, but probably 90% of applications we receive have grammatical issues. Even if it’s very minor, it reflects poorly on you and tells the prospective employer that you don’t pay attention to details. Always have others review your cover letter and resume.
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