Cover Letters

There are two types of cover letters: those that draw the reader in and entice him or her to read your resume, and those that eliminate you from the running before your resume gets read.

The cover letter serves as the introduction to your resume. No resume should ever be sent out without one.

While your resume can remain the same for every company to which you apply, the cover letter should be created separately and individually for each position for which you express interest.

Your career objective should be included in the cover letter – not the resume. By including it in the cover letter (which has to be written separately anyway), you can tailor the objective to the advertisement to which you are responding or to the tip you received through your professional network.

Studies indicate that your cover letter has a life expectancy of about eight seconds, so it must be brief, yet informative.

The letter should have three recognizable parts: the opening, which explains why you are writing; the main body, which lists two or three of your major accomplishments and gives the reader good reason to want to interview you; and the closing, which expresses a desire for future communication.

Be sure your letter draws a connection between the needs of the current job opening and skills you can bring to the job.

Cover Letter Outline

(single space paragraphs with a double space between paragraphs; do not indent)

Date of Letter

Employer’s Name and Title
Employer’s Address

Salutation:

[Opening Paragraph:]
  1. State why you are writing.
  2. Name the position or type of work for which you are applying.
  3. Mention how you heard of the opening or organization.
[Middle Paragraph(s):]
  1. Explain why you are interested in working for this employer.
  2. Specify your reasons for desiring this type of work.
  3. If you have had relevant work experience or related education, be sure to point it out, but do not reiterate your entire resume.
  4. Emphasize skills or abilities you have that relate to job for which you are applying.
  5. Be sure to do this in a confident manner and remember that the reader will view your letter of application as an example of your writing skills.
[Closing Paragraph:]
  1. You may refer the reader to your enclosed resume (which gives a summary of your qualifications) or whatever media you are using to illustrate your training, interests, and experience.
  2. Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for the interview by indicating the action or steps you will take to initiate an interview date.

Sincerely,
[If mailing or faxing signature goes here]

Your name typed
Applicant’s Address
Applicant’s phone number
enclosure