How to build a professional cover letter as a refugee volunteer
From providing adequate food and shelter to ensuring people receive the health services and care they require, refugee volunteers have many crucial responsibilities. Earning a position as a refugee volunteer requires you to write a cover letter that effectively conveys both your professionalism and compassion.
In this guide, we teach you the 5 key steps needed to write an effective refugee volunteer cover letter. Continue reading to learn how to:
- Give your refugee volunteer cover letter structure and visual organization
- Tailor your cover letter for a specific position as a refugee volunteer
- Write a strong introduction that conveys your top qualifications
- Highlight your best and most relevant skills and accomplishments
- Conclude your refugee cover letter persuasively
1. Give your refugee volunteer cover letter structure and visual organization
When applying to an essential position such as a refugee volunteer, it is crucial to make sure the volunteer organizer can easily navigate and make sense of your cover letter.
To do this, you must give your cover letter visual structure and organization using a cover letter header and cover letter headline.
Starting with your header, this element must include all the necessary identifying information, such as:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name of the volunteer organization you are applying to
Additionally, your header should be left-aligned in the top left corner of the document to make it as visually appealing as possible.
Here is an example of a well-formatted refugee volunteer cover letter header
Owen Kramer, Refugee Volunteer
(123) 456-7890 | email@example.com | linkedin.com/in/owen-kramer
To: American Red Cross
Refugee Volunteers Department
1234 Street Address
Washington, D.C. 20001
Once you have created your header, you must now write a compelling headline that lets the reader know you are not only passionate about this position but have the necessary skills for it.
To do so, make sure your header includes:
- A keyword that relates to the position
- A number or trigger word that grabs the reader’s attention
- An adjective and/or verb that compliments your skills and professionalism
- A promise statement that lets the reader know this letter is exclusively for them
Here is an example of an effective headline from a refugee volunteer cover letter
The 3 Key Skills that Make Me a Passionate Refugee Volunteer & These Skills Can Support Your Team
Trigger Word/Number: 3 Skills
Keyword: Refugee Volunteer
Adjective/Verb: Passionate, Support
Promise: Your Team
2. Tailor your cover letter for a specific position as a refugee volunteer
With your header and headline in place, you must now ensure that the rest of the text found in your cover letter is highly specific to the volunteer organization as well.
This is accomplished by researching the organization thoroughly before beginning the writing process. Important details to look for include what types of refugees the organization works with, what types of duties volunteers are responsible for, and what the organization’s overall goals and values are.
Additionally, you should look up who at the organization is responsible for onboarding new volunteers and use this information to create a personalized greeting.
This type of greeting will address this specific person by name and let them know right away that you have taken the time and effort to complete research before applying for the position.
Here are 3 examples of personalized greetings from a refugee volunteer cover letter
- Dear Head Volunteer Jane Miller,
- Dear Refugee Volunteer Organizer Jane Miller,
- Dear Mrs. Jane Miller,
3. Write a strong introduction that conveys your top refugee volunteer qualifications
After completing your header and headline, as well as the research you will use to make your letter as personal to the reader as possible, you can begin writing your introduction.
The introductory paragraph is essential, as it is often the deciding factor in whether or not the reader considers you a worthwhile candidate for the position.
To impress volunteer organizers in your cover letter introduction, make sure to include:
- A concise summary of your professional qualifications and experience
- A statement on why you have chosen to apply and/or why you believe you are the ideal candidate
- A mutual acquaintance — a mutual acquaintance can be any professional acquaintance that has a relationship with both you and the employer, including former bosses or mentors. If you do not have a mutual acquaintance, you can build your professional network using a professional social platform such as LinkedIn.
Here is an example of a strong introduction from a refugee volunteer cover letter
Dear Head Volunteer Jane Miller,
As a long-time and passionate refugee volunteer, I have more than 7 years of experience working with refugees from Latin and South America, particularly young refugees separated from their families. With a background in social work and fluency in Spanish, I believe I am the ideal addition to your volunteer team. My employer, Mr. Jack Smith, helps fundraise for your organization and recommended I apply to this volunteer position.
4. Highlight your best and most relevant volunteer skills and accomplishments
With your introduction out of the way and the reader’s attention firmly hooked on your words, you can begin diving into the juicier details about your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments.
Employment cover letters are more focused on showcasing the value you can provide to a business, while volunteer cover letters focus more on conveying your compassion and commitment to the role. As such, you should include details that highlight your ability to work with a wide range of people and communicate effectively.
Make sure all the details you include are concise, highly relevant, and quantifiable. You want to make it as clear as possible why you are a good fit for this position.
Here are 6 skills to describe in a refugee volunteer cover letter
- Fluency in other languages
- Effective communication (describe your exact communication style)
- Leadership (describe your exact leadership style)
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Distribution of supplies
- Crowd and conflict management
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a cover letter
As a refugee volunteer with [Organization], I worked closely with individuals who had become separated from their families when fleeing war and violent conflicts. My primary responsibility was to assist the Head of Communications to reconnect these individuals with loved ones who had already reached our location and been registered in the system. During my time in this role, I was able to reconnect more than 400 family members over the course of 6 months.
5. Conclude your refugee volunteer cover letter persuasively
You have reached the end of your refugee volunteer cover letter but your work is not yet done.
To end your refugee volunteer cover letter effectively, it is critically important to reiterate your commitment and passion for the position. Additionally, the conclusion is where you should re-state your contact information and provide the reader with the best times to contact you.
Keep in mind that your conclusion should be persuasive, encouraging the reader to get in touch with you quickly.
Here is an example of a persuasive conclusion from a refugee volunteer cover letter
With my passion for helping families stay connected in times of uncertainty, I am certain I will be an excellent addition to your team of refugee volunteers. I eagerly await your response and can be best reached any day between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (123) 456-7890.
If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.