Cover Letter Tips

Your cover letter is just as important to the employment process as your resume. It is your first introduction to the company, and it’s used to convince the person reading your letter that they should take a good look at your resume. To have the greatest impact, you should customize each letter you send out. Do not send 50 copies of the same letter to different companies – it shows that you do not have a specific interest in a particular company.

You should always try to send the letter to a specific individual. Never send a blind letter to "whom this may concern." You have the address – call the company and ask them for the name of the person to send it to. If they tell you to "just send it to the HR department," ask again, be nice and tell them you want to make sure it gets to someone specific. If you have good phone manners and are friendly on the phone, getting a name shouldn’t be a problem.

When preparing the letter, you should include the following items:

  • Tell the reader how you got their name. Even if you have a funny story about your conversation with the receptionist.
  • "Dear Mr. Smith, I saw a job posting at www.job.com and the position listed you as the primary contact for cover letters and resumes."
  • Tell them why you are interested in the company and mention the particular job you are writing about.
  • "I am writing to express my interest in the XYZ job. As you will see on my resume, my experience at The ABC included a lot of XYZ."
  • Ask them to "please take a moment to review my resume."
  • "I look forward to speaking with you in the near future. Please take a moment to review my resume and compare my experience and credentials with the requirements of your open position."
  • Tell them that you will follow up in a few days with a phone call to see if they have any questions.
  • "I will phone your office in a few days to make sure you receive the enclosed documents and answer any questions you might have."
  • Make sure to include a phone number and email address.

If you are responding to a specific job posting or employment advertisement, you should make reference to one or two of the items listed in the ad. Do not go overboard in explaining everything your resume already describes. Keep your cover letter short and simple. One page is enough.

There are many ways to write a cover letter. It is important that you show your own particular style. The paper, font and general “feel” of the letter should be consistent with your resume. They should work together as two parts of the same package. One type of letter that works for one person might not accurately describe your situation. The important thing is not to bore the reader with another one of the million cover letters they receive. Keep it short and have a friend proofread it for you to avoid grammatical and spelling errors.

Good luck!