Cover Letters

The preliminary application for a professional position generally consists of two documents; a cover letter and a resume. The cover letter allows you to tailor your application to each specific job. Use a cover letter whenever your mail your resume. The cover letter introduces you and provides an opportunity for you to customize your message to the employer.

A cover letter consists of a few simple paragraphs that identify the job you are applying for, your qualifications, and your request for an interview. It is important that this letter be well written, as it is usually the first contact a prospective employer has with you. REMEMBER the value of a good first impression.

General Rules

Overview

  • Always write a cover letter when sending your resume to a prospective employer.
  • Cover letters are important. While resumes summarize your qualifications, cover letters should provide an eye-catching first impression that sells you to employers.
  • You want the letter to convince the employer to take action on your resume and invite you for an interview.
  • Be specific about your qualifications.
  • Cover letter should be brief and to the point.
  • The purpose of the letter is to tell the employer why you are interested in the job, what qualifies you for the job, and to request an interview.
  • Remember to show what you can do for the business, not what it can do for you.

How to Address the Letter

  • Address letter to a specific person by name
  • If you do not know the name of the hiring official who will be reviewing your resume, call the employer to find out.
  • If you cannot tell from the name whether the hiring official is a man or a woman, ask.
  • Usually in a cover letter a formal title is desired-Ms. for women, Mr. For men.

Format

  • Pay close attention to grammar and spelling. Spell checks don’t always know how you want to spell a word. Have a friend or two proofread each cover letter.
  • Use computer to type letter, if possible
  • Print or type it on same high-quality bond paper as your resume. Use same letterhead, if possible.
  • Avoid erasures, if typed
  • Make sure envelope is typed, not handwritten, matching the professional look of your resume.
  • Use a large manila envelope to send your application package to avoid having folds or creases on your materials.
  • Tailor your cover letter to each prospective employer. Avoid “To Whom It May Concern”

A good cover letter has 3 sections: the introduction, middle, and ending. Normally each section is limited to 1 brief paragraph.

  • Is addressed to a person-NEVER “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”
  • Is typed in proper format with NO errors
  • Is short to hold interest
  • Emphasizes your value as a potential employee by stressing your skills and accomplishments
  • Asks for an interview
  • Shows how you meet the requirements described in the advertisement-(if responding to an ad)
  • Do not use bullets; save them for your resume

First paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences.
INTRODUCTION – REASON FOR WRITING

  • Start the letter with a statement that is a “grabber”; a statement that establishes a connection with your reader
  • What job you are applying for
  • How you learned about it
  • Your general qualifications for the job

Examples:

  • In search for a position in which my background would be valuable, the name of Learning Labs, Inc. came to my attention as one that might find my education, experience, and education of interest. Enclosed is a copy of my resume which outlines my expertise in Computer Engineering. I am confident that the combination of my military and civilian experience will enable me to make a significant contribution to your organization.
  • Please consider me for the position of Automotive Technician advertised in the Columbus Ledger Enquirer on Sunday, January 26, 2003. A review of my resume will demonstrate that I am skilled and experienced.
  • My good friend Jean Roberts, an instructor at Columbus Technical College, recommended I contact you about your current opening for an Administrative Assistant.
  • Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Jason Robinson at your company’s booth at the Columbus Technical College Job Fair. As he suggested, I am sending you my resume regarding a position for a Carpenter.
  • The purpose of this letter is to explore employment opportunities with St. Francis Hospital. The enclosed resume will furnish you with details concerning my education, experience, and capabilities.
  • This letter is in response to your advertisement for a welder that appeared in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer dated Sunday, January 19, 2003. My resume is enclosed for your consideration. I am confident you will find me well qualified for the position.
  • I noticed that Accounting Concepts and Solutions is planning to send a recruiter to Columbus Technical College next month. I will be graduating from the Accounting program in June and feel that at that time I will have attained the experience and qualifications necessary to be an asset to CRH.
  • When we spoke at church last Sunday, you suggested I submit my resume for employment at Children’s Friend. I would consider such a position an ideal opportunity for me to share my child caregiver expertise.

The body of your letter should be one or two short paragraphs summarizing your resume!
COVERS YOUR MAIN QUALIFICATIONS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND THE REASONS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE JOB.

  • Show a genuine interest in the job and the company
  • Concentrate on two or three relevant qualifications that will increase your chances of being remembered
  • Show how your experience and background qualify you for the position
  • You can elaborate on the rest of your accomplishments later if you are granted an interview.
  • Be as specific as possible, and refer the reader to your resume for additional details

Examples:

  • Currently, I am enrolled in the Medical Assisting class at Columbus Technical College. My course work has included a full range of medical assisting tasks. After completing my coursework next month, I would like the opportunity to put my training into practice in a position such as the one that you have advertised.
  • My primary focus is to obtain a position which will offer the potential for advancement. In fact, I have consistently proven the ability to produce positive results in all of the positions I have undertaken.
  • I will receive my diploma in Software Engineering Technology Fundamentals from Columbus Technical College in June, and I am eager to pursue a career in this field. As my resume indicates, I am highly motivated and hard working. I learn quickly and possess excellent teamwork skills.
  • My background includes three and a half years of military experience, during which I earned the rank of Sergeant (E5). My military and civilian work history will show that I have served in a number of responsible positions in both medical and social service settings. Day-to-day work in these positions reflected a high level of motivation, efficiency, and the ability to meet objectives. Moreover, I performed with a minimum of supervision and demonstrated a high degree of initiative and judgment.
  • I am seeking a challenging position where my training, education, and experience will enable me to contribute to a company’s objectives. The ideal position could lead to a long-term career opportunity. I have consistently proven the ability to produce positive results in all of the positions I have undertaken. Given the opportunity, I am positive that I could make a significant contribution to AFLAC.
  • The announcement indicated a preference for applicants with expertise in dental assisting. For the past six weeks I have been serving an internship in Dr. Don Jones’ office where my job duties required that I perform the exact same duties that were specified in your advertisement.
  • My experience is limited to my internship; however, I feel that whatever I lack in experience, I more than make up for in interest and enthusiasm. I am an outgoing, friendly individual who enjoys helping people. My compassion and commitment to duty would serve me well in responding to your customers’ needs.

The concluding paragraph of your letter should:

  • Request an interview (as appropriate)
  • State where and when you can reached
  • Express your willingness to come to an interview
  • Close by thanking the reader for his/her time and consideration
  • One option is to state or repeat your interest in the job
  • You could be direct and use a statement such as, “I will call you next week to see about setting a time to discuss this position and how my skills will help you meet your goals.”

Examples:

  • I would appreciate an opportunity to come in and talk over the job with you at your convenience. My telephone number is (706) 687-7384.
  • I am enthusiastic about speaking with you about how my skills can improve the services offered at Phoenix American and will call you next week to arrange a mutually convenient time. Thank you!
  • May I call you next week to schedule an interview which will be conducted at your convenience, of course, during which I hope to learn more about the employment opportunities at (Name of company) and how I can contribute to the success of your team.
  • I will contact you next week to see when we can talk about Janus’s needs. Thank you for your interest and consideration.
  • I would be honored to participate in the work of a medical leader such as St. Francis Hospital. I’ll call your office next week to make sure you have received my resume and to answer any questions you might have about my background and experience.
  • I am confident the combination of my educational background, experience, and training qualifies me for consideration for a position with your organization, and I would like to meet with you about these possibilities. Please contact me at either one of the sources listed above.
  • Please contact me if any additional information is required. I will contact your office at a later time to schedule a personal interview. Thank you, Mr. Jones, for your time and consideration.
  • I will try to reach you by phone next week so we can set up a time to talk in person. Thank you for your consideration of my qualifications.

Sample Cover Letters

The sample Cover Letters are in Microsoft Word format. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you may download the free Word Viewer from Microsoft.