Tips For Writing Cover Letters

  • Write to a specific person, using his or her name and title. Never send a cover letter addressed "Dear Sir or Madame" or 'To whom it may concern." Usually you can get a specific name by calling the organization or looking in a business directory. If possible, address your letter to the "decision maker" (the person for whom you would be working), not the Human Resources Department.
  • Demonstrate you know something about the organization.
  • Target your skills and experiences. Present any relevant background that may be of interest to the person you are writing. The "selling" paragraph highlights specific results achieved by you in those areas known to be important to successful job performance.
  • When appropriate, use the specific vocabulary of the industry. Every field has its own terminology (however, avoid over-use).
  • Avoid frequent use of personal pronouns such as "I," "me," "my," and "mine"; especially at the beginning of paragraphs.
  • Define your next step. Don't close your letter without clearly defining what you'll do next.
  • Express your appreciation. Include a statement expressing your appreciation for the employer's consideration of your employment candidacy.
  • Edit. Cross out all unnecessary words. Proofread your typed letter and have someone else proofread it.
  • Keep a copy for your file. After the application deadline passes, you will want to contact the employer about the status of your application.

 

STANDARD COVER LETTER OUTLINE

                                                       Name

                                                      Address

                                                      City, State ZIP Code

                                                      Month/Day/Year

Name

Title

Company

Street Address

City, State ZIP Code

Dear Mr./Ms. _________:

   1st paragraph (Purpose)--State why you are writing and the type of position or field of work in which you are interested. Indicate how you learned of this position. If there is not a specific position available, indicate how your interest originated. Demonstrate briefly your knowledge of the specific company.

   2nd paragraph (Background and Qualifications)--Refer the employer to an enclosed resume and/or application form. If you have had related experience or specialized training, elaborate on the details that would be of special interest to the employer. Be as specific as you can about your qualifications. Explain to your reader where and how you developed these qualifications. Your goal here is to match your skills to the employer's needs; explain how you would fit into the position and the organization.

   3rd paragraph (Request for action)--Close your letter by making a specific request for an interview and/or information. If you are requesting information, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. If you are requesting an interview, state that you will call to arrange a time that would be convenient to discuss employment opportunities. Finally, include a statement expressing your appreciation for the employer's consideration.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

Name