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How to Write a Cover Letter

Cover Letters - Adults with LDWhether you’re responding to a specific job opening or simply writing to express interest in working at a company, you should send a cover letter along with your resumé. The main purpose of your cover letter is to direct the reader to your resumé, but it is also a sales pitch in its own right. Highlight in your letter exactly which skills and experiences found on your resumé make you a great candidate for the position, and why the particular job or company is appealing to you. As with your resumé, make sure you proofread your letter before sending it, and ask someone else to proofread it as well. Your letter must be free of typos and errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The vast majority of cover letters (and resumés) are now sent by email. Career experts suggest that you write your cover letter into the body of the email and attach a copy along with your resumé. The only difference between the two is that your contact information should follow your name when it goes into the body of the email, whereas it should be centered at the top of the letter (like letterhead) on an attachment, which follows print conventions. It is a good idea to convert both your cover letter and your resumé into PDF (portable data format) files to preserve the formatting.

Other tips to consider when writing your cover letter:

  • Address your letter to a specific person whenever possible. If a name isn’t given in an employment ad, do some online research to find the answer or simply call the company and ask to whom you should address your letter. Use “Dear Sir or Madam” only if you have exhausted all other options.
  • State what is enclosed (your resumé) and why you are enclosing it (to apply for a specific job or for any appropriate opening in the company).
  • Briefly explain why you are well suited for the job. Match experience, skills and accomplishments from your resumé with the qualifications required for the position. The more closely these match, the better your chances will be of landing an interview.
  • Include all pertinent contact information: your name, address, telephone number, email address, and professional website, if you have one. Do not provide information that is overly personal or could be construed as unprofessional, such as a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
  • Follow directions. If you are responding to an advertisement or have been given specific instructions by the employer, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Tell what future action you’ll be taking (a follow-up phone call or email).
  • Say thank you. Close with an expression of appreciation and a request for an interview: “I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my qualifications. Thank you for your consideration.”

Sample Cover Letters You’ll find abundant resources online and at the library about how to design your resumé and write your cover letter. Before you go searching, though, here are two sample cover letters to guide you, one from a student seeking a summer job, the other from a recent college graduate.

Take a look at the following example cover letters. The opener “Please consider me” is used in both of the examples. Another option is to begin the letter with “I am writing to apply for” followed by the name of the position and where you saw the position advertised.

Download our sample cover letters PDF.

Tags: college-adult