Cover Letters


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How to write a cover letter to inquire about a job or introduce your resume for consideration for a job posting.

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  • Cover letters should be attached to any professional job (desk jobs), any posting that specifically asks for one, and as a fax cover sheet.
  • Some text from Viriginia Tech’s Cover Letters web site: and the MIT cover letters document:
  • If you’re optimistic, make sure to use positive words, but don’t gush or get too excited about a position you love.
  • “As requested, I have included a writing sample – an article from my school newspaper, the State News, about the school’s annual volunteer day.” “Included is a recommendation letter from my high school counselor, Mrs. Jane Smith, whom I have known for ten years.”
  • This is not always necessary; if the posting specifies a certain date they will be contacting applicants, or if you’re just sending a resume to inquire, you don’t need to include this.
  • Your address comes first, then the date, then the address it’s being sent to. Always try to get the name of the person you’re sending to; “Hiring Manager” or “Human Resources” might sometimes get screened out. Microsoft Word’s Letter Wizard will do this for you, but be prepared to do it yourself, correctly.
  • It’s okay to just type whatever you can think of. Your first try will not be your only try. You can edit!
  • Text of example letter from VT Cover Letters site. (always leave a space between the end of the letter and your typed name, and sign your name in handwriting there.
  • Cover Letters

    1. 1. <ul><li>Job Searching 101: </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing a resume and searching for jobs online </li></ul><ul><li>Part Three: Cover Letters </li></ul>Warren Public Libraries 1 City Square, Suite 100 Warren, Michigan 48093 (586) 751-0770
    2. 2. What is a cover letter? <ul><li>A cover letter is a formal letter you attach to your resume </li></ul><ul><li>It should introduce you (briefly), explain what you like about the job posting, and detail why you’re a good fit for the position. </li></ul>
    3. 3. A cover letter should… <ul><li>Explain why you are sending a resume . </li></ul><ul><li>Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Convince the reader to look at your resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Call attention to elements of your background. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect your attitude. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide or refer to any information specifically requested. </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate what you will do to follow-up . </li></ul>
    4. 4. Explain why you are sending a resume <ul><li>Are you applying for one position? Or several? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you inquiring about possible future positions? </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization <ul><li>Is it a well-known organization? (GM, Dell, Pfizer, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Was there a job posting somewhere? If so, where? (Craigslist, Monster) </li></ul><ul><li>Did a friend tell you about it? (“Jane Smith, who was my mentor in college informed me about this position…”) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Convince the reader to look at your resume. <ul><li>Why are you interesting? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you fit the company or the position? </li></ul>
    7. 7. Call attention to elements of your background. <ul><li>What have you done before that is like this job? </li></ul><ul><li>Where have you worked/what events in your life have helped you prepare for a position like this? </li></ul><ul><li>If the position seeks someone outgoing, show how you have been outgoing before. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Reflect your attitude. <ul><li>Make sure the tone of your letter helps the reader to understand your personality. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t go overboard. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Provide or refer to any information specifically requested. <ul><li>Did the posting ask for a writing sample? Or recommendation letters? Explain in the cover letter that those things are included, and incorporate a sentence or two about the item. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Indicate what you will do to follow-up. <ul><li>Are you going to call in two weeks? Do you want them to call you? </li></ul>
    11. 11. How do I write one? <ul><li>Start by looking over the job posting. What do you like about it? Why do you think you’d be a good fit? </li></ul><ul><li>Jot down a few notes, keeping in mind what the cover letter needs to do. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Proper Business-Letter Format
    13. 13. Start typing! <ul><li>Talk about the categories we mentioned before: why are you applying, and who you are. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the notes you took before. </li></ul><ul><li>Be genuine. Don’t include sentences meant to impress, if they’re not true. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Edit <ul><li>Spell-check (F7), and have a friend spell-check your work. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the punctuation is correct, and especially the names and companies you’re writing to, and writing about. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Example <ul><li>Dear Mr. Jackson: </li></ul><ul><li>From your company's web site I learned about your need for a sales representative for the Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina areas. I am very interested in this position with Acme Pharmaceuticals, and believe that my education and employment background are appropriate for the position. </li></ul><ul><li>While working toward my master’s degree, I was employed as a sales representative with a small dairy foods firm.  I increased my sales volume and profit margin appreciably while at Farmer’s Foods, and I would like to repeat that success in the pharmaceutical industry.  I have a strong academic background in biology and marketing, and think that I could apply my combination of knowledge and experience to the health industry. I will complete my master's degree in marketing in mid-May and will be available to begin employment in early June. </li></ul><ul><li>Enclosed is a copy of my resume, which more fully details my qualifications for the position. </li></ul><ul><li>I look forward to talking with you regarding sales opportunities with Acme Pharmaceuticals. Within the next week I will contact you to confirm that you received my email and resume and to answer any questions you may have. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for your consideration. </li></ul><ul><li>Bob McFakerson </li></ul>
    16. 16. Notes <ul><li>Be genuine, but don’t go overboard. It’s good to be excited about a position, but you don’t have to use CAPSLOCK or exclamation points! To get your point across. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use the same letter for every application; even if they have similar requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Be detailed, but not too detailed; remember, this should be business-appropriate. ( DO tell them how you know the person writing your letter of recommendation; DON’T tell them every detail of the meeting.) </li></ul>