Writing a Cover Letter when Applying for a Job
The cover letter should always be included when sending your resume or CV for a possible job interview. This letter of application serves the purpose or introducing you and asking for an interview. Here is an outline to writing a successful cover letter. To the right of the letter, look for important notes concerning the layout of the letter signaled by a small number in red.
1. Begin your cover letter by placing your address first, followed by the address of the company you are writing to.
2. Use complete title and address; don't abbreviate.
3. Always make an effort to write directly to the person in charge of hiring.
4. Always sign letters.
Useful Key Phrases (responding to advertisement)
I am writing to you in response to your advertisement for...
As you can see from my enclosed resume, my experience and qualifications match this position's requirements.
I would like to point out... immediately upon his return.
During ...., I improved (furthered, extended, etc.) my knowledge of...,
I look forward to an opportunity to speak with you in person. (OR to speak with you personally)
Useful Key Phrases (requesting a position)
Please accept this letter as an expression of interest in the position of...
I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your review.
...and believe I possess the right combination of....skills.
My current position .... has provided the opportunity to ...
I would welcome the opportunity to personally discuss my potential contributions to your company with you.
I look forward to your reply.
Cover Letter Outline
To: name, post
Opening paragraph - Use one of the following to bring yourself to the attention of the reader and make clear what job you are applying for:
E. Summarize the opening
F. Name the opening
G. Request an opening
H. Question the availability of an opening
Middle paragraph(s)- Use one of the following in each of your middle paragraphs to provide the reader with plenty of reasons to invite you to an interview:
H. Work experience
I. Ability to work with others and/or alone
J. Interest in your field
K. Interest in the company
L. Responsibilities in previous positions
Closing paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to ensure action on the part of the reader
The last paragraph needs to help ensure that action is taken. You can ask for an interview appointment time, stating that you will be happy to come to the employer's office when convenient. Make it easy for the reader to follow-up by providing your telephone number and email address.
WORK EXPERIENCE DATES EMPLOYER & ADDRESS WORK PERFORMED
What shouldn't be in your resume:
1. Avoid nicknames, using your business name and middle initial.
2. Don't try to impress or insult the employer with fancy words as you may frustrate them and perhaps have your resume rejected.
3. Never include personal information such as age, race, gender, height, weight, religion, national origin, marital status, children, health, physical appearance, or a photograph of yourself.
4. Do not handwrite your resume. Typewriters are fine, but a computer and printer should be used if possible. Be sure to use tabs instead of the space bar when typing.
5. In your Objective, never tell an employer what YOU expect out of a job -- only what you can contribute. Keep in mind that it's not up to the employer to motivate you and present challenges -- it's up to YOU. If you mention in your objective that you wish to advance within the organization, this could work against you in that the position for which you are interviewing may be a dead-end job.
6. If using a Profile, don't include the same information listed on the resume. When listing your current and past employers, omit street names, zip codes, telephone numbers, and the names of supervisors. You really shouldn't go back any further than 10 to 15 years regarding employment, unless it is directly related to the position for which you are applying.
7. When listing job duties, don't use sentences or paragraphs, as you don't want to be too wordy and bore the reader. Instead, use bullets without punctuation, maintaining consistency throughout.
8. Don't eliminate a previously held job just because it doesn't relate to your career goal. You don't need to elaborate -- just mention it -- as you don't want a gap in employment.
9. Never divulge the reasons why you left each place of employment nor your availability to begin working for the company -- both of which should be discussed in the interview.
10. Don't place Education before Employment unless you are a current or soon to be graduate or have received your degree within the last two years, unless your education relates to the position for which you are applying. Don't include your GPA unless it is at least 3.0 or higher.
11. Salary or wage should never be mentioned until an offer is presented at the interview and only if brought up by the prospective employer. The only exceptions would be if salary history or requirements are mentioned in the ad, in which case you need to follow the directions given.
12. Hobbies and personal interests should be omitted unless they represent your career goal, such as "golfer" for a position at a golf course.
13. Never list your references or the words "references furnished upon request" as this is an insult to the prospective employer's intelligence. Of course you will provide these if he or she requests them -- which wouldn't be until after your interview. So why give them information they may not need?
14. Don't forget to put your name on the second page, in case it separates from the first page.
15. Don't use cheap paper, carbons or onionskin. Don't use wild or bright colors for your resumes, as you want to remain conservative andbusiness-like.
16. Upon completion of your resume, have your copies professionally reproduced -- not on a copy machine.
17. Don't submit a resume longer than two pages. Never print on two sides of the same paper.
18. Make sure there are no typographical or grammatical errors, erasures, white outs, scratched out or rewritten text, and that your paper isn't dirty, ripped, ink-marked, stained or wrinkled. Check that your verb tense is proper, using past and present tense when appropriate.
19. To keep the professional image, it is suggested that you don't staple your resume.
20. Prior to sending your resume, check to see if you placed adequate postage on your envelope and put a return address on it.
21. Don't forget to include a cover letter with your resume as this is expected in the business world.
Keep in mind that you are marketing yourself with your resume. Be creative, honest and assertive. Before you mail your resume, review it one last time. Then ask yourself this question, "If I am a prospective employer, and I just read my resume, would I hire me?"
I am writing to you in response to your advertisement for a Legal Assistant specializing in Port Regulatory Law, which appeared in the Seattle Times on Sunday, June 15. As you can see from my enclosed resume, my experience and qualifications match this position's requirements.
I especially would like to point out that I graduated Cum Laude from The University of Tacoma and was hired directly upon graduation due to my expertise in port authority regulations.
During the four years that I worked for Shoreman and Co., I furthered deepened my knowledge of the fast changing regulatory laws in our state. My employer also thought highly enough of my abilities to promote me to head legal researcher after my first year of employment.
I look forward to an opportunity to personally discuss the position with you. I will call you within the next five days to arrange an interview.
Please accept this letter as an expression of interest in the position of Areas Sales Manager
I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your review. I am familiar with the requirements for success in the Sales profession and believe I possess the right combination of marketing and management skills.
My current position coordinating two local area sales teams has provided the opportunity to work in a high-pressure, team environment, where it is essential to be able to work closely with my colleagues in order to meet sales deadlines.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I would welcome the opportunity to personally discuss my potential contributions to your company with you. Please telephone me at (360) 352-0259 after 4.00 p.m. to suggest a time that we may meet. I look forward to your reply.
John Doe 21 Anyplace Drive, Anywhere, USA 00000
The Place I'm Employed, Anywhere, USA 1999 - Present
Oversee the operations of an extremely fast paced, major manufacturing and distribution JIT facility. Responsible for adhering to strict production requirements, appropriate labor rates, pre-defined budgets and safety requirements. Playing a major role in the implementation of ISO 9000. Define problems, collect data, propose and/or implement solutions based on scientific and/or mathematic research I have conducted. Also engage in a wide variety of HR functions. Serve as the manufacturing facility's first aid responder; CPR and first-aid certified. Certified forklift driver.
Commonwealth Network, Anywhere, USA 1991 - 1995
On-Air Radio Host
WAAA Radio, Anywhere, USA 1989 - 1991
Graduated with Diploma/Degree in (major/minor)
Additional educational experiences:
Completed several courses in communications law. Completed a course on identifying and dealing with drug and alcohol use and abuse in and out of the workplace. Completed CPR and First Aid training classes. Completed and actively participated in employee empowerment management courses.
Perceived to be a strong leader with abilities to get employees to perform at extremely high levels via empowerment. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Driven by enthusiasm to get the job done right the first time with quality work and teamwork. Outstanding entrepreneurial sense, having owned and operated a successful marketing business for four years. Have missed only two days of work in the last eight years.
References Upon Request