How to Write a GIS Specialist Cover Letter (With Template)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a technology specialized professionals employ to create digital maps that contain geographic data linked to various databases. GIS specialists typically possess abilities in programming, cartography, and data analytics. As a professional GIS specialist, knowing how to highlight your extensive experience and skills in a cover letter can be a valuable when looking for a new position. In this article, we explain what a GIS specialist is and what they do, present seven steps for creating a GIS specialist cover letter, offer a cover letter template, and provide an example letter.

What is a GIS specialist?

A GIS specialist is a technically skilled mapmaker. These professionals use cartography, programming, and data analysis skills to interpret spatial and geographic data using specific software to create digital maps for databases used for diverse purposes. GIS specialists regularly find patterns using spatial mapping techniques, create various mapping tools and applications, and build and maintain vast digital libraries containing geographic data used in many industries. These analysts typically specialize in areas such as meteorology, mining, forestry, wildlife conservation, urban and land-use planning, geology, public health, military applications, or research.

How to create a GIS specialist cover letter in 7 steps

A GIS specialist cover letter highlights your experience and skills beyond your resume. Most GIS specialists have an undergraduate degree in environmental science, geography, GIS surveying, geomatics, or a related field. While licensing is not a requirement, many GIS specialists become a certified geomatics specialist (CGS) in areas like GIS/LIS, photogrammetry, cartography, and geodesy through the Canadian Institute of Geomatics.

Many employers look for candidates with technical skills, including the ability to produce and interpret geographic data from multiple sources, knowledge of relational database management, and an ability to use programming and front-end design languages. Strong soft skills, like analytical thinking, attention to detail, spatial reasoning, problem solving, and oral and written communication, are also useful. A cover letter can provide an opportunity to expand on your resume and show employers your value by presenting your unique skills and experience. You can follow these seven steps to write your cover letter:

1. Choose a format

When drafting your one-page cover letter, consider using the same format and style as your resume, as this can show attention to detail and professionalism. You can follow traditional formal letter guidelines, such as using left-aligned text with double-spacing to improve its readability. Some professional font styles to consider include 11- or 12-point Times New Roman, Georgia, Arial, or Calibri.

Related: 4 Types of Business Letter Formats (With Templates)

2. Mirror your resume header

You generally start a cover letter with the same contact information and formatting you used on your resume. The first line uses a bold font for your name and degree, followed by a regular font for your contact number, e-mail, home city, and province or territory on the next line. You can also include the hiring company's name, the hiring manager's name, and their contact information on separate lines below.

3. Address the recipient by name

If a job posting includes the recruiter's name, consider addressing them directly in your salutation, such as Dear Jacobe Seeker. If the posting doesn't include their name, you can usually locate it by going to the hiring company's website or social pages or by calling them to ask. When no name is available, it's okay to write Dear Hiring Manager.

Related: Who to Address a Cover Letter to (With Templates and Examples)

4. Let employers know who you are

You can introduce yourself in the first paragraph and tell employers what position you're applying for and why. It's often helpful to include some specific details about what attracts you to the role and organization, and what made you pursue this career path. The following sentences can describe your notable experiences, responsibilities, and achievements. When possible, match your core strengths to those in the job posting.

Related: What Is a Summary of Qualifications? (With Examples)

5. Expand on similar work values and the benefits you offer

The second paragraph offers an opportunity to describe any core values you share with the company, like community involvement. When the posting states specific objectives the employer expects to meet, you can outline how you might achieve these. Employers often look at how much research a candidate has done before applying for the position, so relating your values and goals to theirs can reveal you've investigated the company while demonstrating the benefits you can bring to the job.

6. Close by restating your interest

You can use the last paragraph to restate your interest in the company and what you offer the employer. It's customary to thank the reader for their time and consideration, and you can also express your desire to speak with the employer further to answer questions or schedule an interview. You would generally include a valediction such as sincerely, regards, or respectfully, followed by your name and signature.

Related: 12 Tips for Crafting a Great Cover Letter

7. Proofread your letter

A GIS specialist position typically requires professionalism and attention to detail, which you can demonstrate in a strong, error-free cover letter. Reading your letter out loud and reviewing it several times may help you find errors. Many professionals use editing software, but you can also have a friend or colleague read it before sending it to the employer.

Related: What Is the Standard Canadian Resume Format? (With 7 Tips)

GIS specialist duties and responsibilities

These professionals might work in the field, gathering and interpreting data with specialized equipment and tools they can use to help clients make informed decisions. Their work may also involve measuring border lines to improve the accuracy of digital map information. Depending on their area of focus, they might work in an office environment, managing and updating database information and providing support to other GIS users. Other responsibilities can include:

  • Completing data searches and retrievals

  • Employing emergency management

  • Using programs, software, and statistical data to create documents, charts, maps, and graphic reports

  • Collecting and maximizing data for various sources, including global positioning systems (GPS), satellites, population and other census reports, and geological and environmental monitoring

  • Analyzing and interpreting data to make informed decisions

  • Creating software systems for customizing geographical data

  • Using logical and spatial analysis to detect and rectify data issues

  • Using existing survey markers, GPS, and other data to geo-reference digital maps with actual ground locations

Discussing some of these responsibilities in your cover letter can help prospective employers understand your practical experience and abilities and how you can use them to benefit the organization.

Read more:

  • What Does a GIS Analyst Do? (With How to Become One)

  • Top GIS Certifications to Help Advance Your Career

Template cover letter for a GIS specialist

This template may be helpful in drafting your cover letter:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification, if applicable]
[Phone number] | [E-mail address] | [City], [Province or territory], [Postal Code]

[Date]

[Company name]

Dear [Hiring manager's first name] [Hiring manager's last name],

[Express excitement for the position, including the role title and the company name]. [Introduce yourself by explaining why you're applying for the job and how the job aligns with your career goals and what specifically draws you to the company].

[Explain your relevant experience and qualifications without repeating what's in your resume]. [Highlight one to two relevant achievements with facts and data when possible]. [Explain why you'd be a good fit for the company]. [Optional - address employment gap or career transition].

[Express gratitude]. [Summarize qualifications]. [Restate interest in role]. [Call to action + availability and preferred contact method].

[Complimentary close],

[Signature]

Related: 7 Key Cover Letter Parts to Include in Your Letter

Example cover letter

This cover letter for a GIS specialist is an example you can consider when drafting your cover letter:

Wanda Warkworth, BSc, Environmental Science

506-456-7890 | wanda.wary@email.ca | Fredericton, NB

September 20, 2022

CBA Conservation and Tracking Consultants
Fredericton, NB

Dear Jarrod Seymour,

I found your posting for a wildlife spatial database specialist on the government job board and was delighted to see my qualifications align with your job requirements. As a highly skilled GIS specialist certified in remote sensing and over six years of in-field spatial analysis and wildlife conservation management, I can apply my wealth of experience to a new role.

As lead GIS specialist for the province's largest national park, I oversee the spatial wildlife and conservation databases, analysis tools, and information delivery systems for 238 km2 of conservation land. I manage and analyze spatial data to create updated maps and track the park's diverse animal population. My work on the large black bear population has led to a 35% decrease in urban encounters through in-field tracking, spatial analysis, proprietary geolocation software, and improved conservation management. I believe my experience aid your efforts to gain a broader understanding of the province's unique biodiversity and wildlife habitat sustainability.

I am very excited about this opportunity and want to thank you in advance for your time and consideration. With over six years of successful spatial wildlife analysis and conservation management experience, I expect to surpass your expectations for this role. I would love to elaborate on what I can bring to the role, so please contact me to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
Wanda Warkworth, BSc Environmental Science

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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