4 What Is a Cover Letter?A cover letter introduces you and your resume to potential employers or organizations you seek to join (non-profits, educational institutions, etc). It is the first document an employer sees, so it is often the first impression you will make. Take advantage of this important first impression and prepare the reader for your application, stating why you are writing, why you are a good match for the job and the organization, and when you will contact him or her.Cover letters do more than introduce your resume, though. A coverletter's importance also includes its ability to:Explain your experiences in a story-like format that works with the information provided in your resume.Allow you to go in-depth about important experiences/skills and relate them to job requirements.Show the employer that you are individualizing this job application.Provide a sample of your written communication skills.
5 Formatting your cover letter Your cover letter should convey a professional message. Of course, the particular expectations of a professional format depend on the organization you are looking to join.For example, an accounting position at a legal firm will require a more traditional document format. A position as an Imagineer at Disney might require a completely different approach.Again, a close audience analysis of the company and the position will yield important information about the document expectations. Let the organization's communications guide your work.
6 For this example, we are using a traditional approach to cover letters: Single-space your cover letterLeave a space between each paragraphLeave 3 spaces between your salutation (such as "Sincerely" or "Sincerely Yours") and typed nameLeave a space between your heading (contact information) and greeting (such as, "Dear Mr. Roberts")Either align all paragraphs to the left of the page, or indent the first line of each paragraph to the rightUse standard margins for your cover letter, such as one-inch margins on all sides of the documentCenter your letter in the middle of the page; in other words, make sure that the space at the top and bottom of the page is the sameSign your name in ink between your salutation and typed name
7 What do I include in my cover letter heading? The heading provides your contact information, the date you are writing, and theaddress of the company to which you are applying.For your contact information, you will want to include the following:Your nameThe address where you can be reachedPhone numberFax number (if applicable)addressThen, you will skip a line and write the full date (month, day, year). Follow this byskipping a space and writing the contact information for the person to whom youare writing:Name of the specific personTitle of that person (if available)Address of the companyThe reason you write your phone/fax number and address is to make it easy for the company to contact you. You do not need to put this information down for the company itself.
8 Example:Craig M. Leroix 2987 W. Taylor Dr. Portland, ORFebruary 2, 2005Amy Kincaid, Human Resource Director Western Electric, Inc. 387 Collier Lane Atlanta, Georgia 30051
9 Addressing your cover letter Whenever possible, you should address your letter to a specific individual, the person in charge of interviewing and hiring (the hiring authority). Larger companies often have standard procedures for dealing with solicited and unsolicited resumes and cover letters. Sending your employment documents to a specific person increases the chances that they will be seriously reviewed by the company.When a job advertisement does not provide you with the name of the hiring authority, call the company to ask for more information. Even if your contact cannot tell you the name of the hiring authority, you can use this time to find out more about the company.If you cannot find out the name of the hiring authority, you may address your letter to "hiring professionals" - e.g., "Dear Hiring Professionals."
10 The introductionThe body of your introduction can be organized in many ways. However, it is important to include, who you are and why you are writing. It can also state how you learned about the position and why you are interested in it.(This might be the right opportunity to briefly relate your education and/or experience to the requirements of the position.)Most important is to briefly overview why your values and goals align with the organization's and how you will help them. You should also touch on how you match the position requirements. By reviewing how you align with the organization and how your skills match what they're looking for, you can forecast the contents of your cover letter before you move into your argument.
11 The argumentYour argument is an important part of your cover letter, because it allows you to persuade your reader why you are a good fit for the company and the job. Carefully choose what to include in your argument.You want your argument to be as powerful as possible, but it shouldn't cloud your main points by including excessive or irrelevant details about your past. In addition, use your resume (and refer to it) as the source of "data" you will use and expand on in your cover letter.
12 In your argument, you should try to: Show your reader you possess the most important skills s/he seeks (you're a good match for the organization's mission/goals and job requirements).Convince your reader that the company will benefit from hiring you (how you will help them).Include in each paragraph a strong reason why your employer should hire you and how they will benefit from the relationship.Maintain an upbeat/personable tone.Avoid explaining your entire resume but use your resume as a source of data to support your argument (the two documents should work together).
13 The closing Your closing restates your main points and reveals what you plan to do after your readers have received yourresume and cover letter.In your closing:Restate why you align with the organization's mission/goals.Restate why your skills match the position requirements and how your experience will help the organization.Inform your readers when you will contact them.Include your phone number and address.Thank your readers for their consideration.
14 A sample closing:I believe my coursework and work experience in electrical engineering will help your Baltimore division attain its goals, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the job position further. I will contact you before June 5th to discuss my application. If you wish to contact me, I may be reached at , or by at Thank you for your time and consideration.
15 Other tipsWhen you tell readers you will contact them, it is imperative that you do so. It will not reflect well on you if you forget to call a potential employer when you said you would. It's best to demonstrate your punctuality and interest in the company by calling when you say you will.If you do not feel comfortable informing your readers when you will contact them, ask your readers to contact you, and thank them for their time. For example:Please contact me at , or by at I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.Always proofread your cover letter carefully.Unless requested otherwise, always single space your professional communication.Research the corporate website, read and try to understand their mission statement.
17 Guide to Basic Business Letters A business letter serves the main purpose of communication between two companies, or it is a method to talk to different people within a business.The purpose for business writings is to inform readers of information you want to get across or possibly persuade the readers to do something.(http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_basbletter.htm )(http://www.theenglishweb.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/letter_and_ _phrases.pdf )
18 The 7 C 's of business writing Most problems with business letters are they are eitherhard to understand or very long and drawn out. Onesolution that many writers use to correct this problem is todouble check the writing to make sure it follows the sevenC's of business writing.ClearConciseCorrectCourteousConversationalConvincingComplete
20 The Start Dear Personnel Director, Dear Sir or Madam: (use if you don't know who you are writing to)Dear Dr, Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms Smith:(use if you know who you are writing to, and have a formal relationship with - VERY IMPORTANT use Ms for women unless asked to use Mrs or Miss)Dear Frank: (use if the person is a close business contact or friend)
21 Making references The reason for writing letters emails "With reference to your letter, I..."With reference to your advertisement in the Times,"In response to your letter, I can confirm...""With regard to your memo, I...""Following our phone conversation, I.....""I am writing with reference to your enquiry.“"Thank you for your letter of March 5th …"About...Following…Thanks for your .your letter of 23 rd March,your phone call today,The reason for writing"Your name was given to me by (source)""My colleague, Ewan Jones, suggested that I write to you concerning ….""I have been advised to contact you regarding your policy on insurance claims.""I am the Marketing Manager of a search engine optimisation company, and I am writing to youto ask if your company would be interested in promoting ..."Ewan asked me towrite to you about…Could you give mesome informationabout…Would you beinterested in …
22 Informing Confirming "It has come to our notice that..." letterss"It has come to our notice that...""I am writing to inform you that...""Please be advised that...""I am writing to advise you that..."Just to let you know…A quick note to tell you…Confirming"I am writing to confirm ....""I would like to confirm ...."Just to confirm that…
23 Asking for information or advice letterss"I am writing to enquire about ....""I would be interested to receive further detailsabout ....""Please could you give me the necessarydetails concerning ...?""I would be grateful for your adviceconcerning..”"I would appreciate your advice on ..."Can you tell me about…Please tell me about…I’d like some information about…I’d like your advice about…Could you tell me if…Please let us know about…Explaining and clarifying"I am writing to explain ...""I would like to clarify certain points regarding...”"I would like to take this opportunity to clarify ..."Here’s some information about..Just to clarify…
24 Replying a request letters emails Requesting "As you requested, I am enclosing a brochureabout our adventure holidays.""As you suggested, I am sending you my CV.""In answer to your enquiry, I am enclosinginformation which I hope will be useful to you.""As promised, I am sending you the..."As requested,As suggested,Here is / Here areAs promised,RequestingCould you possibly? I would be grateful if you could…Could you give me some information about…
25 Making reference to something your reader knows letterss"As you may already know / have heard, theProduction Division is merging with…"As you probably know…Saying thank you"Thank you for your letter in which youenquired about …""Thank you for your advice regarding...""I am writing to thank you for yourassistance.”Thanks for...
26 Making a suggestion or giving advice letterss"In response to may we suggest that youcontact ....""With regard to your enquiry about ... we adviseyou to ... ""We would like to advise all our customers to ..."You could…You can...Why don’t you..Enclosing"Please find enclosed ....""Enclosed please find ...""Enclosed is a ...""Enclosed are ....""I am enclosing a ...""I have pleasure in enclosing ..."Please find attached a ...Attached please find ...Attached is ...
27 Apologizing Referring to a meeting letters emails "Please accept our apologies for thismisunderstanding.""We apologize for our mistake and we wouldlike to take this opportunity to assure you that itwill not happen again.""We hope that this misunderstanding hasnot caused you too much inconvenience."Sorry for…Sorry about…We’re very sorry that…We’re sorry to tell you that…UnfortunatelyI am afraid thatReferring to a meeting"I look forward to seeing you on …""I look forward to meeting you on …”"I would be delighted to arrange a meetingwith you."See you on…Let’s meet up to discuss…Would you be free to meet on…Shall we meet up to discuss…
28 Asking for action Offering help letters emails "I would be grateful if this matter could beresolved...""I would appreciate further information on …“"I would be grateful for further advice.""I would be grateful if you could send me...”Could you…Please could I have…Please could you give me…Please send me…I look forward to hearing fromyou soon / meeting / seeing you next Thursday.Offering help"Please do not hesitate to contact me if I canbe of further assistance.""If you would like any more information,please do not hesitate to contact me on…""Please feel free to contact me again if I canLet me know if you’d like any other information.Feel free to contact me…
29 Excuse of delaying reply Thank you for your regarding the quotation, and I am sorry for my late reply due to the business trip to China.Thank you for your information. I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you earlier because I’ve been traveling a lot recently and I’m hardly in my office.I have noted your on May 10. Sorry, I didn’t reply earlier because I’ve been swamped wit work. I had a big project, which was due yesterday.I am sorry for my late reply but I had a bad cold and stayed home for a few days.Excuse of technical problemsThank you for your on May 20. I regret that I couldn’t receive it until today because my hard drive crashed/my computer broke down/my server or internet connection was down / because of the virus.I am sorry that I haven’t been able to respond to your earlier because my computer was down and I couldn’t boot up. It too some time to fix it.I am sorry that I couldn’t send you for a few days because my program has been very unstable, although I reinstalled it several times. Now, it works finally, so I’m writing you immediately.
30 Notification of holidays or absence I will be on maternity leave from May 2 to July 15. during my absence, please contact Miss Sylvia Lin who is my assistant and is also familiar with the details of your project/case/issue.I am leaving for Hong Kong for a few days and will be back on July 20. during this period, I will still be checking my . You can me at this address. I’ll try to reply as soon as possible.I will be traveling next week and won’t be back until June 20. While I am off/absent, Karen will take good care of your case/project/issue/matter.I’ll be on vacation for one week beginning on Monday and will be back to work on July 30. you can contact Doris who will take care of the customer service.Our office will be closed for 6 days, from January 20 till January 25 due to the Chinese New Year.
31 Expressing urgency letters emails "As this matter is now urgent, we wouldappreciate a prompt reply.""We look forward to hearing from you at yourearliest convenience.""Due to the urgency of the situation, I wouldappreciate receiving your advice as soon aspossible."Please get back to me asap.Please reply asap.
32 The finishYours faithfully, (If you don't know the name of the person you're writing to)Yours sincerely, (If you know the name of the person you're writing to)Best wishes,Best regards, (If the person is a close business contact or friend)
33 Common types of business letters Acknowledgement letterThis letter is meant to thank the reader for something they did for you in the office. It could simply be saying thanks for receiving something the reader sent or maybe thanking them for their help with something. This type of letter is not required in a business environment, but it is appreciated. Adjustment LetterThis letter should be used in response to a written complaint against someone or something. The purpose of it is to inform the reader that actions are being taken against the wrong doing as well as it serves as a legal document acknowledging the complaint. Complaint LetterThe complaint letter is much like the adjustment letter except no wrong doing as taken place. Instead, this letter is just to let the reader know that an error as been found and needs to be corrected as soon as possible. This letter is a legal document letting the reader know that something is being done to correct the problem.
34 Inquiry LetterAn inquiry letter is written as a request for a certain something or in response to a request made by someone. The object of the inquiry letter is to get the object or material requested in the letter. Order LetterOrder letters are used to order material that is running low and will be needed soon. This type of letter is commonly known as a PO (purchase order). This letter is also a legal document showing a transaction between a business and a vendor. Response LetterIt is a letter written in response to another letter received by someone. The objective of this type of letter is to fulfill the request made by the person you are writing this letter to.
35 A sample letter Ken's Cheese House 34 Chatley Avenue Seattle, WA 98765 Tel:Fax:October 23, 2006Fred FlintstoneSales ManagerCheese Specialists Inc.456 Rubble RoadRockville, ILDear Mr Flintstone:With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am writing to confirm your orderfor: 120 x Cheddar Deluxe Ref. No. 856The order will be shipped within three days via UPS and should arrive at your store inabout 10 days.Please contact us again if we can help in any way.Yours sincerely,Kenneth BeareDirector of Ken's Cheese HouseA sample letter
36 Web links(how to write business letters)(business sample letters )(Guide to Basic Business Letters )(Cover letters)