What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter introduces you and your resume to an employer and should be sent with every resume you submit. In your cover letter, state why you are writing, why you are the best person for the job, and when you plan to contact your prospective employer.
Many people think that a cover letter is not as important as a resume. Actually, a cover letter is very important, because it gives you the opportunity to draw your reader’s attention to specific qualifications. A resume presents a lot of information about your past employment and education, while a cover letter features specific qualifications that you think will impress your reader the most.
A cover letter is also important because it provides a sample of your written communications skills. Showing you can write well will demonstrate your intelligence and help to establish your credibility. Always write cover letters with care, because, like resumes, cover letters create an image of who you are as a professional.
You should plan to write a new cover letter for every position for which you apply, because cover letters should be tailored to the needs of your reader. An employer seeking an electrical engineer, for instance, will be impressed by a different letter than an employer seeking a mechanic. Always bear in mind that the content of your cover letter should change from job to job.
What Should I Include in My Cover Letter?
Cover letters should be tailored to the needs of specific employers. For this reason, you should aim to include information in your cover letter that is related to the position for which you are applying. This information should persuade your reader you are the best person for the job.
Before writing your letter, it is important to know that employers desire different kinds of people for different positions. For instance, an employer seeking an accountant may desire someone with bookkeeping abilities and an accounting degree, while an employer seeking a human relations coordinator may desire someone who works well with other people and has proven leadership skills. Applicants for these jobs should highlight in their cover letters their qualifications related to these positions.
Further, different employers hiring for the same type of position may not desire the same kind of applicant. For instance, two companies may advertise a position in public relations. One company may desire someone with a public relations degree and strong communications skills, while the other company may desire someone with the ability to work with people from different cultures. A person applying for the first company should include information about his or her degree and communications skills, while a person applying for the second company should include proof that he or she can work with all kinds of people.
311 Nestor Street
June 6, 2004
Ms. Christine Rennick
Dear Ms. Rennick:
Dr. Saul Wilder, a consultant to your firm and my Organizational Management professor, has informed me that Aerosol Monitoring and Analysis is looking for someone with excellent communications skills, organizational experience, and leadership background to train for a management position. I believe that my enclosed resume will demonstrate that I have the characteristics and experience you seek. In addition, I’d like to mention how my work experience last summer makes me a particularly strong candidate for the position.
As a promoter for Kentech Training at the 1997 Paris Air Show, I discussed Kentech’s products with marketers and sales personnel from around the world. I also researched and wrote reports on new product development and compiled information on aircraft industry trends. The knowledge of the aircraft industry I gained from this position would help me analyze how Aerosol products can meet the needs of regular and prospective clients, and the valuable experience I gained in promotion, sales, and marketing would help me use that information effectively.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these and other qualifications with you. If you are interested, please contact me at (317) 555-0118 any morning before 11:00 a.m., or feel free to leave a message. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the ways my skills may best serve Aerosol Monitoring and Analysis.
Follow-Up to an Interview
The interview follow-up, when you have visited a business location, is a courteous letter of acknowledgment. You may also write a follow-up to an interview when your interview took place on campus. It is a good idea to write a follow-up thank you letter anytime a company has invested time with you. The letter should show the reader that you are thorough, courteous, efficient, and sincerely interested in the job. On the personal level, writing this letter allows you to wrap up your application for the job; it is your last chance to tie up all the loose ends neatly.
What Should I Include in My Follow-Up?
123 Winner’s Road
April 2, 2004
Dear Mr. English:
The purpose of the follow-up to an interview is to convey your thankfulness at being given an interview. In the opening paragraph, thank the interviewer for their time. Thank them for allowing you to learn about the position and the company.
In the body of your letter, present a personal analysis of your interview and visit. It is important to avoid clichés and generalizations such as, “My visit to your company was very informational and interesting.” Write about your impressions of the company and your review of the interview proceedings. You may also want to point out any new information that you learned about the company during your visit. If there is any new information about your education or work experience that you believe would increase your chance of getting the position, present that as well.
In your conclusion it is important to be positive and reflect goodwill. The letter’s intent is to show the interviewer that you are thorough, courteous, efficient and, most importantly, that you are sincerely interested in the job. It is likely that sending this letter will set you apart from the crowd.
123 Winner’s Road
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