Job Prep

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Cover Letters

Cover Letter Examples
Cover letters serve as the detailed part of you that can not be communicated on a resume.

They are used:

  1. As a business description of you.
  2. To introduce you, your skills, your knowledge, and your experience to the potential employer.
  3. To get the potential employer interested enough that they want to interview you.

It is very important that these letters speak in your voice and express the same sorts of ideas that you would express in an interview. With that in mind, it is a must that you create your own cover letter. If your letter is a general letter written by someone else on which you have changed the appropriate phrases, it will be noticed should you get an interview. There are several formats for cover letters, and there are samples included here, but here are some things to remember as you create your own.

Steps to a Good Letter

As you begin to work on a letter that will get responses, it is helpful to work through a process of deciding what information should be included and what style of letter that will mandate.

  1. What needs does the employer have that can be answered directly by my experience and talents?
  2. What sorts of things will come across as an advantage to the person responsible for hiring?
  3. What skills do I have that are applicable to the job that I'm applying for that I can highlight in my letter?
  4. What type or style of letter will best deliver the information that I gathered in the first 3 questions?

By following the 4-step process, writing a cover letter should come to you with a great deal more ease.

Format of a Cover Letter

Your cover letter should include the following:

  1. An introductory paragraph that introduces the applicant to the reader. In your initial paragraph, state the reason for the letter, the specific position or type of work for which you are applying, and indicate how you learned about the opening (from the Student Employment Services Center, from the local newspaper, from an Internet source...)
  2. Your body paragraphs should indicate why you are interested in the position, why you are interested in the company, and what you can do for the employer. If you are a recent graduate with very little experience, it sometimes helps to emphasize your academic preparation and how it relates to the position. This section of the letter refers the reader to the enclosed resume which summarizes your qualifications, training, experiences, and any other information that may help you to land the job. You may want to highlight those things from your resume which are particularly relevant, although you do not want to re-write your resume in the text of your cover letter. Never send a resume without sending a cover letter directed to the employer with whom you are applying.
  3. In the final paragraph, indicate your desire for a personal interview, and when you would be available to interview (do not limit yourself to specific times, but let the employer know how flexible you are). You should close the letter with a statement that indicates that your hope for a response. You may also tell the employer that you will call and when, if you are comfortable with this approach.

After having a workable, typewritten first draft, it is important that you proofread, edit, and proofread again. Some employers even circle misspellings or typos as they read so that anyone else who is a part of the selection process will not miss the errors. A second opinion is often helpful--you may ask a friend or a relative to read the letter and to offer some constructive feedback. After your first perfect letter is written, it can be referred to for well-written phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that can be used again in future letters. Each letter will be easier to write than the last.

Building a good cover letter is a developmental process and should not be viewed as a quick, one-time deal. The completed cover letter should give you a true sense of satisfaction in the knowledge that you have put enough time and energy in its creation to give it the best chance of success in getting responses.

Cover Letter Examples

Cover Letter Format
Cover Letter Example 1
Cover Letter Example 2
Last Modified: 9/30/11