The Cover Letter
Click here for a PDF Cover Letter Workshop Presentation
When do you need a cover letter?
Whenever you are sending a resume to a prospective employer, whether you are:
- Applying for a job
- Responding to an advertisement
- Conducting an exploratory campaign
- Providing information in advance of a job interview
What should a cover letter accomplish?
- Introduce yourself and your reason for writing – if you were referred to the company by a mutual friend or associate, mention him/her
- Sell yourself – highlight how you can benefit the company
- Make a plan – indicate what you would like to happen next
What other types of letters will you need to write?
- Send a thank you letter immediately after the interview
Cover Letter Check Points
- One page, brief, concise, and to the point
- First paragraph: Grab the recipient’s attention. State exactly why you sent your resume; i.e., you are interested in the company, and you want to fill a need they have. Indicate any connections between the employer and yourself (work in same field, same professional interest, you have been following the company in the news).
Second paragraph: Briefly state the skills you bring to the table that will specifically meet the employer’s needs. There is no need for great detail as the resume will provide specifics. Highlight how you will use your talents and experience to benefit the company.
- Close the letter: Indicate what you would like to happen next. State how you can be reached and that if you don’t hear from them within a few days, you will follow-up with a phone call to make sure your resume and cover letter have reached the intended recipient.
- Use 8 ½ x 11 white or off-white bond paper. Resume and cover letter paper should match.
- No errors in grammar, punctuation, or spelling. No visible corrections.
- In the body of the letter, note that your resume is enclosed. Also make a proper enclosure notation at the end of the letter.
- Tone of letter is consistently formal or informal. The salutation and closing should match the tone of the letter.