The cover letter is a letter of application for an advertised position or a letter of inquiry about a position you desire. It introduces you to an employer by covering your resume each time it is sent. Cover letters are meant to complement the information contained in the resume. Never send out a resume by mail without a cover letter.
Thank You Letter
This letter should always be sent within 24 hours of the interview. A thank you letter should be sent to every employer with whom you interviewed. Otherwise, send it to the Human Resource Director or the Chairperson of the screening committee. Use the letter to thank the individual for his/her time. Mentioning a specific topic discussed in the interview can serve as a reminder to him/her of the interview and strengthen your candidacy.
Always send a brief letter with any submitted material. Follow up if there has been a delay in hearing from employers. Indicate that you are still interested in the position. You may send other thank you letters for a second interview or for a referral. Other letters that you may want to send to an employer are:
- “Stall” letter—letter requesting more time to consider an offer
- Acceptance letter—letter expressing your acceptance of a job offer
- Withdrawal letter—letter requesting that your name be removed from consideration
- Reply letter to having not been chosen—keep correspondence open; don’t burn any bridges!
See the Career Development Office for details about these forms of correspondence.
LETTER WRITING TECHNIQUES:
- Type each letter on the same paper as the resume. Use a quality laser printer or typewriter.
- Address your letters to a specific person and include his/her title. Accessing a company web page and/or a phone call will help determine the correct name and exact spelling.
- Customize your letter to fit with the requirements of the position. If a job description is available, focus on the specific sections that demonstrate your skills.
- The letter should focus on what you can do for the employer, not what you want from them.
- The length of each letter should be no more than one page. Use good business format, and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Cover Letter Format
Your Present Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Date of Writing
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Employer:
- Describe the type of position for which you are applying.
- Mention how you learned about the position (name of contact, type of advertisement).
Middle Paragraph(s) (one to three):
- State your interest and purpose.
- Expand upon the information stated in your resume, but do not repeat it.
- Be positive in content, tone, word choice, and expectations.
- End with an action statement requesting a personal interview.
- Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.
Type your name
Telephone (with area code)
Sample Cover Letter (.doc)