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Cover Letters

Writing a cover letter often seems like a particularly daunting task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you’ll soon be an expert at writing cover letters to send with your resume.

A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective cover letters.

A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression.

There are three general types of cover letters:

  • The application letter which responds to a known job opening
  • The prospecting letter which inquires about possible positions
  • The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search

Your cover letter should be designed specifically for each purpose outlined above as well as for each position you seek. Do not design a form letter and send it to every potential employer .

Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences (remember, relevance is determined by the employer’s self-interest). They should express a high level of interest and knowledge about the position.

General Format

Your Contact Information
Name
Address
City, Region
Phone Number
Email Address

Date

Employer Contact Information (if you have it)
Name
Title
Company
Address
City, Region,

Salutation
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

Body of Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up.

First Paragraph
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and where you found the job listing. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.

Middle Paragraph(s)
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it.

Final Paragraph 
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up.

Complimentary Close

Respectfully yours,

Signature

SAMPLE COVER LETTER FOR A UNIVERSITY GRADUATE

Email

Employer Contact Information

Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Date

Dear Mr./Ms. LastName,

I am writing to apply for the position of Media Relations Manager. ABCD is a fast-moving global institution and an outstanding communications pioneer, now poised to guide the direction of print journalism.

As a recent graduate of the State University with significant experience in finance, administration and media, I bring the energy and commitment to excellence necessary to thrive in ABCD’s innovative environment.

As the current Media Relations Coordinator of the XYZ company, I am a practiced business liaison and an able administrator. These strengths, combined with deep and varied employment and internship experience as a journalist and media consultant with FGH and LMD, prepare me to make a strong and immediate impact at ABCD.

I am excited about the opportunity to join the ABCD team as it moves to the center of the print media conversation. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Your Signature

Your Typed Name


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