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Cover Letters - Tips and Examples

You have an impressive resume, you know how to present yourself well in an interview, you know what kind of position you are best suited for. . .now all you need is a chance to get your foot in the right door. Just what can you do to make that happen?

Make sure you write a knockout cover letter, advise career planning specialists.  A cover letter is your chance to explain to an employer why he or she should consider you for the job.  The best cover letters are specific and give examples that directly relate to the job you are trying to get.  Your cover letter is a targeted sales tool which should be tailored to the specific position you are seeking.  Check out our latest offer -
100+ Cover Letter Examples for less than $20.

The cover letter is also a good opportunity to show potential employers your writing skills, says Jennie Rothschild, and for those job-seekers whose native language is not English, a chance to show that you are comfortable with the language. Whatever your writing and language skills are, though, make sure that your letter has no mistakes. "Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!" emphasizes Ann Harrell. A cover letter, like most business correspondence, says Ms. Rothschild, has three basic parts: *Paragraph 1, in which you state: who you are; how you heard of the position or the company; why you are writing. "Your goal in this paragraph," says Ann Harrell, "is to convince the reader why you are the only candidate to interview." *Paragraph 2, in which you discuss: why you are interested in the position and/or company; how your qualifications fit the specific skills needed for the job; some specific examples of how your past experience has prepared you to do the job for which you are applying; any other relevant skills, qualities, achievements, and experiences that make you the best candidate for the job. "The second paragraph is your chance to shine," says Ms. Harrell. "Discuss your experiences and skills that match the criteria for the position. If you met your contact through networking, refer to your meeting notes. Use the company information you found if this is a cover letter for a direct mailing." *Paragraph 3, in which you: repeat that you are hoping to be considered for the job; give specific information about your plans to follow up; thank the employer for his or her consideration. "And then be sure to follow through," says Ms. Harrell. When closing, "Sincerely" or "Sincerely Yours" with your typed name and signature will be appropriate.

Jennie Rothschild suggests these additional DOs and DON'Ts:

DOs...

In the first paragraph, name the title of the job for which you are applying and be specific about how you heard about the position or company.
Try to find out the name and title of the person who will be able to hire you and use the name, instead of writing "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam."
Write the letter based on exactly what the ad or job listing says the employer is looking for; try to give an example from your experience for every qualification listed in the ad.
Type the letter and use paper and font that is the same or looks similar to your resume. Don't forget to sign your name.
Reread the letter carefully and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It's a good idea to have someone else proofread the letter as well.
Keep the letter brief--under 1 page. Keep the paragraphs to 2-4 sentences each.
Say that you are enclosing a resume.
Include your phone number in the last paragraph.
Make sure the envelope is clearly and properly addressed.

DON'Ts...

Send a resume without a cover letter.
Discuss salary unless the ad or job listing requires it.
Repeat information that appears on the resume, except in the briefest, introductory manner.
Generalize about personal qualities or past job titles. Instead, give specifics about your skills and experience.
Talk about what the job will do for you.
Give unnecessary personal information.
Include anything that you will not be able to explain in an interview.
Send Xerox copies.
Say you will follow up without having a specific plan to do so.
Staple or paper clip items.

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Sample Cover Letters

 

COVER LETTER

2842 South Plaza
Chicago, Illinois 60228
March 12,

David C. Johnson
Director of Personnel
Bank of Chicago
490 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60222

Dear Mr. Johnson:

The accompanying resume is in response to your listing in the Chicago Tribune for a security officer.

I am especially interested in this position because my experience as a senior security professional in the Army has prepared me for a disciplined, secure work environment and the challenges associated with unexpected events. I'm looking forward to using this experience for enhancing the security of a growing and community-conscious bank.

I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my experience will best meet your needs. My ideas on how to improve your bank's security posture may be of particular interest to you. Therefore, I will call your office on the morning of March 17 to inquire if a meeting can be scheduled at a convenient time.

I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely yours,

Joyce Peterson

 


 

APPROACH LETTER
Referral
 
821 Stevens Points
Boston, MA 01990
April 14,

 

Terri Fulton
Director of Personnel
TRS Corporation
6311 W. Dover
Boston, MA 01991

Dear Ms. Fulton:

     Alice O'Brien suggested that I contact you about my interest in personnel management. She said you are one of the best people to talk to in regard to careers in personnel.

     I am leaving the U.S. Army after seven years of experience in personnel administration. Because of my positive Army experience, I would like to continue working in a large organization. However, before I venture further into the civilian job market, I would like to benefit from the experience and knowledge of other professionals in the field who might advise me on opportunities for someone with my qualifications.

     Perhaps we could meet briefly sometime during the next two weeks to discuss my career plans. I have several questions which I believe you could help clarify. I will call your office on Tuesday, April 22, to schedule a meeting time.

     I look forward to discussing my plans with you.

 

Sincerely yours,

Kristine Kellerman


 

 

 

THANK YOU LETTER
Post-Informational Interview

9910 Thompson Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 43382
June 21,

Jane Evans, Director
Evans Finance Corporation
2122 Forman Street
Cleveland, Ohio 43380

Dear Ms. Evans:

Your advice was most helpful in clarifying my questions on careers in finance. I am now reworking my resume and have included many of your thoughtful suggestions. I will send you a copy next week.

Thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to see me. I will keep in contact and follow through on your suggestion to see Sarah Cook about opportunities with the Cleveland-Akron Finance Company.

Sincerely,

Daryl Haines

 

 


 

THANK YOU LETTER
Post-Job Interview
 
2962 Forrest Drive
Denver, Colorado 82171
May 28,

 

Thomas F. Harris
Director, Personnel Department
Coastal Products Incorporated
7229 Lakewood Drive
Denver, Colorado 82170

Dear Mr. Harris:

     Thank you again for the opportunity to interview for the marketing position. I appreciated your hospitality and enjoyed meeting you and members of your staff.

     The interview convinced me of how compatible my background, interest, and skills are with the goals of Coastal Products Incorporated. As I mentioned during our conversation, my experience as an Army recruiter has prepared me well for direct sales opportunities both in the U.S. and Germany. I am confident my work for you will result in increased profits within the first two years.

     For more information on my success as a recruiter, please call Lieutenant Colonel Dave Garrett at 202/726-0132. I talked to Dave this morning and mentioned your interest in this program.

     I look forward to seeing you again.

 

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Potman


 

 


 

THANK YOU LETTER
Job Rejection
 
564 Court Street
St. Louis, MO 53167
April 29,

 

Ralph Ullman, President
S.T. Ayer Corporation
6921 Southern Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 53163

Dear Mr. Ullman:

     I appreciated your consideration for the Research Associate position. While I am disappointed in not being selected, I learned a great deal about your corporation, and I enjoyed meeting with you and your staff. I felt particularly good about the professional manner in which you conducted the interview.

     Please keep me in mind for future consideration. I have a strong interest in your company. I believe we would work well together. I will be closely following the progress of your company over the coming months. Perhaps we will be in touch at some later date.

     Best wishes.

 

Sincerely yours,

Martin Tollins


 

 


 

THANK YOU LETTER
Job Offer Acceptance

7694 James Court
San Francisco, CA 94826
June 7,

Judith Greene
Vice President
West Coast Airlines
2400 Van Ness
San Francisco, CA 94829

Dear Ms. Greene:

I am pleased to accept your offer, and I am looking forward to joining you and your staff next month.

The customer relations position is ideally suited to my background and interests. I assure you I will give you my best effort in making this an effective position within your company.

I understand I will begin work on July 7, ______. If, in the meantime, I need to complete any paperwork or take care of any other matters, please contact me at (303) 777-1234.

I enjoyed meeting with you and your staff and appreciated the professional manner in which the hiring was conducted.

Sincerely,

Joan Kilmer

Excerpted from From Army Green to Corporate Gray
by Carl S. Savino, Major USAR and Ron Krannich, Ph.D.
Copyright - Impact Publications 1999

Check out our latest offer - 100+ Cover Letter Examples for less than $20.

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