A cover letter should accompany each resume that is mailed or emailed to a prospective employer. This short, well-written letter will add a personal touch to the application packet as well as direct the employer’s attention to specifics concerning your qualifications for a particular position.
While the resume is expected to be reproduced and contain the same information for each employer, the cover letter is a unique item of correspondence. It must be individually prepared and designed to indicate your interest in a particular position or organization and reasons why you should be considered as a viable candidate. In a very real sense it should be developed to sell your qualifications to an employer. After reading the letter, the employer should want to review your resume for more information.
Keep in mind the following points when writing your cover letter:
- Address your letter to a specific person using his or her name and title. There are numerous directories available in Career Services and websites that will give you this information. If necessary, call the company and ask for the name of the hiring person as discretely as possible. Avoid using Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom It May Concern.
- Type your letter and use the same quality paper you used for the resume.
- Avoid being humorous, cute or overbearing in the letter.Maintain a professional style of writing.
- Neatness and correct grammar are absolutely essential.
- Keep the tone of the letter positive. Avoid apologizing for lack of experience, etc.
- Highlight the key experiences and achievements contained in the resume. Summarize or paraphrase the information in your resume enough to entice the reader to really want to take a much closer review.
- Be original. It’s alright to use a model cover letter as a guide for help in developing a style of writing. However, a prospective employer can quickly spot a form cover letter and as a result may not give your application serious consideration.
Review the following sample letters. Feel free to borrow phrases and format styles but avoid duplicating the sample. Be creative and develop a unique piece of correspondence.