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How to Write a Cover Letter

Cover Letter

A cover letter is often an employer’s first impression of you. Most businesses require a cover letter. It shows that you know business etiquette. A cover letter should be carefully tailored to each different job for which you apply. Content and layout are equally important.

There are two kinds of cover letters. The letter of inquiry is used to ask if there are any openings for a person with your qualifications. The letter of application is sent when an opening exists for which you want to apply.

Use the Correct Form

Cover letters should be typed on the same quality paper that you use for your resume. Use the format for business letters. Also, when mailing, use a manila envelope.

Use Simple, Direct Language

Keep the letter short and straightforward. Limit it to one page.

Address Your Letter to a Specific Person

If at all possible, find out the name of the person who is responsible for hiring. If you are answering a blind ad then use the greeting -- Attention Personnel.

Identify the employers requirements for the position

Write your cover letter with emphasis on these skills/benefits for the position.

Usually these requirements deal with your education, experience, and a few specific skills. List no more than 5 no fewer than 3. Show how your skills relate to the particular position with the use of clear and concise phrases or sentences. Bold, underline, set back, or bullet the skills you are emphasizing.

Thank You Letter or Thank You Note

This may be either handwritten or typed. If you choose to use a note card, skip the "cute" ones. Plain or just Thank You is best. Send a thank you letter or note after all personal contacts with employers or their staff. Your letter should consist of a simple thank you for the interview or for the person’s time, a restatement of your interest in the position, and a statement that you are looking forward to hearing from the employer again. Make the note as personal as possible. Mention any information that you received that was especially helpful or interesting. Also enclose any additional information that may have been requested.

Letter of Acceptance

This is the easiest letter to write. Make sure you respond immediately and that you comply with any requests.

Letter Declining an Offer

This letter can become important in the future if you ever re-apply for a position with the company. Write promptly and make sure to thank the reader for showing interest in you.

Sample Cover Letter | Resources Index