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Cover Letters

General Guidelines

  • Always include a cover letter with any resume you send.
  • Always address it to a specific person. If you do not have a name, call the organization and ask for the name and title of the person in charge of the department in which you want to work.
  • Use an accepted professional format for your letter (see attached samples). Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical or typographical errors.
  • Have someone else proofread the letter for you.
  • Limit your letter to one page.
  • Make sure you follow through; if you indicate you will call within one week, make sure you do, or you will look disinterested and unreliable.

Sample Cover Letters

Writing the Letter

Opening Paragraph

  • Clearly state what it is you are seeking, e.g., "I am interested in applying for the position of __________, advertised in the __________, on (date)".
  • If you are applying to an organization that has not advertised, or has not been specific in the advertisement, very clearly state your objective, e.g., "I am interested in obtaining an entry level position in sales."
  • If an acquaintance of yours has given you a suggestion of someone you might contact, state this up front, e.g. "Bob Jones suggested I contact you regarding employment opportunities in your firm."
  • It will help you to research the organization, learning all you can about their services, and what their needs might be. Then, clearly target your objective to match their needs/services.
  • If the degree you hold is critical to the position mention it in this section, e.g., "I hold a B.S. in Accounting from Nazareth College."
  • Let them know you have done your homework; say something flattering about the organization (be specific if you can), e.g., "(Name of organization) has an excellent reputation (locally, nationally, globally) for __________ and I would like to become part of your team."

 

Body of Letter

  • Write one or two paragraphs describing your education, special skills, talents and accomplishments that will make you an asset to the organization.
  • Focus on how you can be of value to the organization, rather than on how they can be of value to you.
  • Become knowledgeable about the language ("buzz words") typically used in the area you are pursuing; use this language in your letter.
  • Highlight in detail particular aspects of your resume specifically related to your job target, e.g., "As indicated on the attached resume, I have experience in __________. Of particular importance to you might be my (accomplishments/skills/experience) in the area of ___________."
  • Make the most direct possible connection between the job you are after and your experience/education.
  • If you claim expertise in an area, be sure to substantiate your comments through examples of performance.

 

Closing Paragraph

  • Be specific regarding your plan or action, e.g., "I will call you within (one week/two weeks) to arrange a meeting."
  • Alternatively, you can indicate that you look forward to hearing from the employer (include your current phone number). It is, however, advisable for you to follow-up with the employer to check on the status of your resume/application.
  • If you are looking for more information, clearly state this, e.g., "I am interested in more information regarding this position, and would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you."
  • Thank them e.g., "Thank you for your consideration."
  • Note enclosures at the bottom of the letter; indicate attachments or enclosures if appropriate. If you want, you can include what the enclosure is, e.g., "Enclosure: Resume."
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