Sample Cover Letters

How to Write a Cover Letter

How to Write a Cover Letter

A cover letter has 3 purposes:

  1. It formally introduces you, and can personalize the presentation of your resume

  2. It highlights specific information from your resume and from your background that applies to a specific field or position. Can also give reader insight to items not addressed in a resume

  3. It helps to facilitate a meeting between you and the employer

Cover letter allows you to personalize your resume when it is mailed to prospective employers in response to advertisements or to inquire about possible interviews. The cover letter's main purpose is to advertise your strengths and assets in a way that would interest employers in interviewing you. It is also useful in that it can save valuable time by enabling you to visit only the most promising prospects or helping you avoid places where there is no interest in you as a prospective employee.

To attract the reader's ATTENTION, the cover letter must look good and be easy to read. Use of quality 8 1/2" X 11" paper, correct English, spelling, spacing, paragraphing, margins and above all, flawless typing is a must. Address it to a particular person by name, making sure that the spelling and title of the individual are correct. The person addressed should hold an influential position in the company. A good cover letter is not too long, so try to limit yours to only part of a single page.

The first paragraph should arouse the reader's INTEREST. This can be done by stating some particular knowledge you have of the reader's business, by a comment on some "timely" issue relating to the company's operation or by an impersonal statement of some outstanding fact relating to your ability that would probably appeal to the employer.

The body of the cover letter should make the employer DESIRE to interview you by explaining what you can do for his/her company. Put yourself in the employer's position as you write and present facts that will both be interesting and accurately describe your assets and qualifications. Your prospective employer will be interested in your ability to make and/or save money, to conserve time, to effectively assume and discharge responsibility and to produce results more rapidly and economically than anyone else. Do not stress your bad points, such as lack of experience or unemployment.

The last paragraph should request ACTION. Ask directly for an interview stating specific times and dates when you will call to arrange an interview. In all circumstances be courteous but use a direct approach.

The letter should end with the formal salutation, "Sincerely yours." Below the salutation, type your name and then add your signature. Remember the use of AIDA (ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, ACTION) will result in a cover letter that is both pleasing to read and effective.

Sample Cover Letter Outline

Your Address
City, State, Zip

(Ms. or Mr.) I.M. Hiring
Personnel Manager
Name of Company
Company Address
City, State, Zip

Dear (Ms. or Mr.) Hiring:

Your opening paragraph should arouse interest on the part of the reader. Tell the employer why you are writing the letter. Do not say in the first paragraph that you are looking for a job. Give information to show your specific interest in the company.

Your middle paragraphs should create desire. Give details of your background that will show the reader why one should consider you as a candidate. Be as specific as possible about the kind of a job you want. Don't make the reader try to guess what you would be interested in.

Refer the reader to your general qualifications on your enclosed resume or other material. Use as much space as you need to tell your story but keep it brief and to the point.

In your closing paragraph you ask for action. Ask for an appointment suggesting a time when you will contact the individual. You may now list your dates of availability.

Sincerely yours,

[Your Signature]
Type your name here

Sample Cover Letter

349 Adams Street
Newton, MA 02160
January 19, 1994

Dr. Melvin W. Simms
Northeastern University
P.O. Box 746
Boston, MA 02117

Dear Dr. Simms:

I am presently a Cooperative Education student in the Northeastern University College of Computer Science. I have had experiences in programming in Pascal, FORTRAN, "C" language and am familiar with the DEC-VAX System. As a native of Japan, I know that my language skills would prove useful to your company. I would be most interested in obtaining a cooperative education assignment with Northeastern University for the summer and fall 1994.

I am currently completing a course in computer electronics and am working on a project revising a system for radio communications. Additionally, I am working at a local Radio Shack franchise selling electronic equipment. As you can see, my course work and experience would be appropriate in your environment.

My resume is enclosed for your review and consideration. I will telephone you during the week of June 3rd to discuss the possibility of setting up an interview. I will be available for full-time cooperative education employment from June 25, 1994 through December 31, 1994.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely yours,

Moshi Shieko



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