Your Cover Letter

The primary purpose of the cover letter is to acquaint the prospective employer with your unique talents and skills, and to arrange an interview to discuss employment possibilities.

Because a résumé is included with each cover letter, it is important that the cover letter be different from the résumé, 
not simply repeating the same information.

That is, your cover letter should highlight your résumé by identifying how you are qualified for the position and the reasons why it will be to the employer’s advantage to hire you. It is valuable to state the reasons for your interest in that particular employer.

The cover letter should be as brief as possible and should be limited to one page. If possible, do not direct the letter to Sir, Madam, Director, or Personnel. Find out who is responsible for hiring and direct the letter to that individual.

Preparing Your Cover Letter

When preparing a cover letter, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Never mail a resume without a cover letter.
  • Address by name and title the individual with the power to hire you, if at all possible.
  • Plan your letter before you write it.
  • Adapt the letter carefully to the conditions of the job opportunity.
  • Open with an idea that captures the attention of the prospective employer—so that the letter and résumé are considered worth reading.
  • Highlight and draw attention to the points in your résumé that uniquely qualify you for the position.
  • If you are unsure what jobs are available, include one or more questions in the cover letter that requires a response—this includes a form letter reply.
  • Close your letter with a request for an interview.
  • Avoid jargon and trite language.
  • Use paper that matches your résumé in color and texture.
  • Have the letter typed in a professional manner—never use photocopied form letters.

Review, Review, Review

Finally, pay special attention to grammar, spelling, and neatness.

Your cover letter should represent your very best efforts. It may be beneficial to have a friend or relative review your letter prior to sending it to an employer.