Cover Letter Help

Guidelines and Advice

When submitting your resume, remember to always send a cover letter. Cover letters introduce you to the prospective employer and shows them how your background fits the particular job and/or employer. It is important to expand on relevant points from your resume in order to provide a clearer view. It is your chance to showcase any significant facts like a mutual acquaintance, your willingness to relocate or additional skills and abilities not stated in your résumé.

Prepare an original cover letter for each job!!! Do NOT send form letters!!!

Content and Layout

What goes in and how to arrange it...

A cover letter serves as an introduction to a prospective employer. You should present your specific qualifications and/or skills that directly relate to a position in a succinct but thorough manner. Whether submitting for an advertised position, a networking referral, or simply prospecting for possible future opportunities, a cover letter should be submitted in conjunction with every résumé you send.

Introductory Paragraph:

State your reason for writing and how you learned of the opening or who referred you. Capture your reader's interest and show your knowledge of the employer. Do some company research (use newspapers, trade magazines, company literature, internet resources, etc.). Use this space to clarify your career objective.

Cover Letter Body:

Mention why you are interested in the position and the organization. Briefly describe your qualifications. If you are a recent graduate, explain how your academic background, internship experience, and volunteer work make you a qualified candidate. If you have practical work experience, point out your specific achievements or unique qualifications.

Relate yourself to the company to explain why you are a good candidate. Be sure to refer to your résumé but do NOT be repetitive. Instead, refer to position requirements by elaborating on one or two positive, significant experiences or achievements. Closing Paragraph:

Indicate your interest and availability for a personal interview. Close your letter with a statement that will encourage a response. For example, state that you be following up at a further date. If you say you will call, BE SURE that you call.

What To Do and what NOT To Do...

Do:

  • Identify a specific person when addressing the letter (do your research!).
  • Use paper that matches your résumé.
  • Write an original cover letter for each employer and position.
  • State in the first sentence why you are writing.
  • Show that you have established career goals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the position and the employer's organization (again, do your research).
  • Demonstrate originality and enthusiasm.
  • Proofread for typos and accuracy of address and telephone numbers.
  • Have at least two people you trust review and edit the letter. Spell Check does not always catch the correct usage and form of words.
  • Do NOT hand write your letter or envelope. Laser printing is preferable.
  • Keep copies of the materials for your records.
  • Inform recruiters you will follow up with a phone call to arrange an interview.

Don't:

  • Make the letter more than one page
  • Use generic, all-purpose cover letters - NEVER copy cover letters
  • Be long-winded; make your points succinctly
  • Exaggerate your skills or experience
  • Repeat your résumé word for word
  • End on a passive note; be proactive and offer to take the first step
  • Forget to sign the letter
  • Send a résumé without a cover letter
 
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