Presentation on theme: "Cover Letter Workshop Rationale: Welcome to the “WorkOne Job Letters Workshop.” This presentation is designed to introduce the basic concepts of developing."— Presentation transcript:
2 Overview This lesson will cover Cover letter basics Cover letter sectionsCover letter designCover letter samplesFollow up lettersKey Concept: The facilitator should stress the fact that if the attendees doesn’t understand the reason they are creating the cover letter, they could waste time worrying about the wrong parts.
3 Cover Letter Basics What is a cover letter? A document that explains your job goals, education, job historyCover letters also explain why you are capable of filling the job positionWhy do I need a cover letter?Employers use cover letters toGet more information than provided on résuméSee who can do a jobRead about your past jobs, skillsSee if you can write/communicateDecide which applicant will be interviewedKey Concept: The facilitator should emphasize that a cover letter should make someone stand out from the rest of the applicants. Each cover letter will be different according to experiences, jobs, and applicants. Remind the attendees that although they may seem hesitant to make more than one cover letter, each cover letter should be tailored to a particular job or assignment to be most effective. Tailoring letters to match specific jobs and companies will help the letter stand out from the rest of the letters that may be generic cover letters.The tutor should also remind students that although a cover letter should highlight points from their resumes, they don’t need to put every single activity or skill in their cover letter. They should concentrate on “selling” the main points to the prospective employer.
4 Cover Letter Basics What is the goal of my cover letter? To get an interview!(In order to then get the job!)Key Concept: Like a résumé, the main goal of a cover letter is to get an interview. Keeping this in mind, the facilitator should remind attendees that applicants can talk more in the actual interview; their life stories don’t need to be condensed into one letter.
5 Cover Letter Basics What should my cover letter contain? Heading IntroductionBody paragraphs (support information)ClosingLike the résumé, the cover letter should be split into easily read sections. The cover letter usually contains a heading, an introduction, the body paragraphs that support the initial points made in the introduction, and a closing that wraps up the letter and provides contact information.
6 Cover Letter Basics What should my cover letter accomplish? Show employer you have tailored the letter to the company, jobExplain your experiences in a clear way that matches the information from your résuméExplain your experiences that relate to the job you wantExplain how your experiences/skills will help the employer fulfill job requirementsProvide a good example of your communication skillsYour cover letter and résumé should work together as a complete argument that persuades employers that the applicant is a good match for the company and that the applicant can do the job.
7 Cover Letter Headings Headings should contain: Date you are writing Your mailing addressaddress, if you have one (professional tone; noAddress of employerKey Concept:The “Header” should include:Applicant’s addressDateEmployer’s address
8 Cover Letter Introductions Introductions should:Greet specific person (if possible)State position you are applying for, how you heard about itExplain why you are a good match for job, companyIntroduce two examples from your résumé you will use to explain why you can do jobThe facilitator should express that many applicants will try to use “To Whom it may Concern” or other informal salutations. The facilitator should tell the attendees that a cover letter will be more likely to get to the right place if written to a specific person. Applicants can find an addressee for the cover letter on company websites, in the job ad, and if all else fails, it’s fine to call the company to see if someone specific is handling the hiring.Activity: The facilitator can demonstrate how to find the names of people on a company website.Key Concept: The facilitator should explain that a lot of times the introduction is where the attendees are really going to have to work to find out why they are interested in working for a company. Sometimes the attendee may have to do some further research to have a better reason than “I just need a job.” The first paragraph provides the thesis for the rest of the cover letter.
9 Cover Letter Introductions Here are two example introductions:Key Concept: These are examples of a standard beginning paragraph.
10 Cover Letter Body Paragraphs Body paragraphs should:Support your argument that you are qualified for job, good match for companyExplain the two examples from your résumé you use to support your pointsFirst body paragraph example:Key Concept: The facilitator should remind the attendees that they should pick no more than two skills or benefits to discuss in the body paragraphs. Some people get in the habit of listing qualities, which tells the employer absolutely nothing. Applicants have to support the thesis from the introduction (good match, can do job) by connecting the skills listed on their résumés with how they make the applicant a good match and how they will help the applicant to the job.Organize your body paragraphs to emphasize your strongest and most relevant qualifications. Only include the two of the strongest qualifications from the résumé.Make it easy for readers to scan your letter by beginning each paragraph with a strong topic sentence.
11 Cover Letter Body Paragraphs Second body paragraph example:Key Concept: This is an example of an effective middle paragraph.
12 Cover Letter Body Paragraphs Another example of a body paragraphKey Concept: This is an example of an effective middle paragraph.
13 Cover Letter Closings Closings should: Restate your qualifications Ask for an interviewProvide contact informationReference résuméThank employerClose politelyRemember to sign your name, list enclosuresKey Concept: This paragraph brings the entire cover letter together and expresses what the applicant will do, or the applicant’s expectations.
14 Cover Letter Closings Sample closing: Key Concept: This is an example of very common closing format.
15 Letter Language Avoid weak language: I worked as a ramp agent at Comair.Use Strong language:As a ramp agent, I assisted in loading baggage, oversaw fueling the aircraft, and stocked commissary items on the aircraft.“Translate” language employers may not know (military):Received and stored bulk and package petroleum, oils, and lubricants products. Vs. Coordinated and distributed petroleum products and monitored quality control systems.Key Concept: If the facilitator has time and notices any weak language, he or she can help the attendees change these sentences to better describe the applicant’s experiences. It is important to create your résumé in a way that employers will understand. Creating an effective résumé for your civilian life means you will have to use language people outside the military can understand. For example, in the experience section of your résumé you will need to do some “translating” between military terms and civilian terms:
16 Letter Tips Avoid unprofessional language Letter length Letter should only be one page!Strongest and most relevant qualifications should be highlightedLimit to a few qualificationsEasy to readBegin with topic sentencesKey Concept: If the facilitator notices any sexist or informal language in letters, he or she should remind the attendees that although it may seem appropriate, the applicant has no way of knowing who will read the letter. Sometimes applicants may argue that they know the person who will be receiving the letter. That person may see the letter, but may also want to share the applicant’s cover letter with others.Therefore, the language should be appropriate for all audiences.
17 More Letter TipsAppeal to company values, attitudes, goals, projects, etc.Explain how you will help organizationElaborate on the information in your résuméProvide evidence of your qualificationsProofread carefully for grammatical and typographical errorsKey Concept: The facilitator should remind the attendees that some of the work experiences they have had may not seem to be relevant, but still usually has some aspect of the job they want.Attendees may seem down about some of their work experiences or lack of work experiences. Sometimes, the facilitator just needs to encourage them and help them realize that they have valuable skills even if they don’t think they do.
18 More Letter Tips What do I do about any times I was not working? Short breaks in work experience shouldn’t hurt your chancesBe ready to talk about what you did:VolunteerismFaith-based activitiesFamily-related responsibilitiesShort times in between jobs or work experience should not hurt applicants’ chances of getting an interview. But you should be prepared to talk about those breaks when you meet with the employer. If you were not working for pay but volunteered doing something in the community, talk about that experience to show you were busy doing something.
19 More Letter Tips What should I do if I have been in trouble? Be honest Talk about what you did (positive things) while you were “serving your sentence:”GEDVocational trainingFaith-based activitiesLearned from your mistakesIf attendees have been incarcerated, tell them be honest with the employer and to talk about what they did while they were serving their sentence that may contribute to their job skills. For example, many prison systems offer General Education Development (GED) programs so inmates can receive the equivalent of a high school diploma. Prison systems also offer vocational training in carpentry, plumbing, electronics, auto mechanics, etc. If attendees have received vocational training in prison, suggest that they talk about this in their interview.People reentering the work force from prison may want to write a skills-based cover letter. Skills-based cover letters focus on what you can do now rather than explaining an entire work history.
20 Cover Letter Design You may choose between: Block Modified Block Generally, it’s safest to use the block format because it’s the most traditional, and it’s the easiest to set up.BlockModified Block
21 Cover Letter Design Or: Semi-block Semi-block, however, is also a nice letter format to use. To find out what type of letter the company may prefer, attendees may want to go to the company’s Website to see if they can find company documents (press releases or mission statements) that may be on company letterhead.Semi-block
22 Cover Letter Samples Dear Mr. Lee: I read in the June 7, 2009 Journal and Courier employment section that Hoosier Distribution is hiring a warehouse worker and truck driver, and I would like to speak with you about this job. My strong work ethic and solid teamwork skills make me a good match for Hoosier Distribution. Also, my warehouse experience and excellent driving record at Small Car Parts International make me a good candidate for this job.As a warehouse worker and deliver driver for Small Car Parts International in Lafayette, I lifted and carried boxes well over 100 pounds, tracked inventory, and I used maps and directions to deliver car parts. I also interacted with gas station and auto mechanic shop employees to conduct business. As a pizza delivery driver for Ernie’s Premier Pizza, I drove routes in a heavily trafficked urban and suburban areas, interacted with delivery customers to conduct business, and worked with employees and customers from diverse ethnicities and cultures. I believe that my warehouse and driving experience will make me a strong member of your distribution team.I am looking forward to meeting with you about the warehouse and truck driver position. I am sure that my strong work ethic and experience can help Hoosier Distribution maintain a high level of service. If you have any questions, please call me at For your reference, I have included my résumé. Thank you for taking the time to review my documents.This is an example of an effective cover letter. Note how the thesis is clear in the introduction and how each paragraph supports the thesis but listing skills but also stating how those skills will help the applicant help the company.
23 Cover Letter Samples Dear Ms. Millhouse: I saw your flier at Lafayette Beauty Academy for the cosmetologist position, and I would like to speak with you about this job. My strong work ethic and solid teamwork skills will make me a valuable member of your staff. In addition, my experience at the JCPenny Salon will allow me to start work with you immediately without much training. I am an Indiana state licensed cosmetologist (# ), and I really enjoy working with people in a salon environment.As a salon assistant and receptionist at the JCPenny Salon at Tippecanoe Mall, I gained experience working in a salon by assisting cosmetologists in washing hair, cleaning, tracking inventory. When working as a receptionist, I performed point of sales transactions and helped customers schedule appointments. During my training at Lafayette Beauty Academy, I acquired the skills necessary to work as a licensed cosmetologist, maintained an excellent attendance record, and scored high on all tests. I believe that these experiences will enable me to begin work in your salon without much training.As a licensed cosmetologist, I can clean, sterilize, and disinfect areas and equipment, and I can order, receive, inspect, and store equipment, merchandise, and supplies. In addition, I can perform manicures and makeup applications and give scalp treatments and shampoos, as well as cut, shape, style, tint, rinse and dye client’s hair according to existing cosmetology practices. Lastly, I can give permanents and work on a variety of synthetic and human wigs.I am looking forward to meeting with you about your cosmetologist position. I am sure that my strong work ethic and experience can help your salon maintain a high level of service. If you have any questions, please call me at For your reference, I have included my résumé. Thank you for taking the time to review my documents.This is an example of an effective cover letter. Note how the thesis is clear in the introduction and how each paragraph supports the thesis but listing skills but also stating how those skills will help the applicant help the company.
24 Follow Up & Thank You Letters Follow up lettersState that you are still interested in jobAsk whether or not employer has received your documentsExplain that you are waiting to hear what to do nextThank you lettersThank employer for job interviewAsk whether or not job has been filledFollow up letter and thank you letters are other forms of correspondence attendees may need to use during the job search. Follow up letters are used to initiate contact between applicant and a company if the applicant has not heard from a company for two weeks after submitting an application or résumé. A thank you letter thanks the people with whom the applicant interviewed.
25 Follow Up Letter Sample Dear Alex Carson:Two weeks ago, I submitted a résumé and cover letter in response to your job ad for the welder apprentice position (#46). I am following up to make sure you received these documents. I am still very interested in interviewing for the job if you have not yet hired someone.I am looking forward to meeting with you to discuss the welder apprentice position and how I can help A & D Industries. I feel that my years of welding experience will allow me to be a valuable member of your team. If you have not received my résumé and cover letter, I would be happy to resubmit them or drop them off in person.If you have any questions, please call me at You may also me atThis is an example of an effective follow up letter. It’s not pushy, yet it gets the point across.
26 Thank You Letter Sample Dear Alex Carson:Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the welder apprentice position (#46) at A & D Industries. I enjoyed speaking with you and am still very interested in working for A & D.I realize that the welder apprentice position can be challenging because of the long hours and hectic work environment. However, I am sure that my years of welding and experience working in fast-paced jobs will allow me to excel at A & D Industries.It was a pleasure meeting with you and learning more about the welder apprentice position at A & D Industries. I look forward to hearing from you about the position. If you have any questions, please call me at You may also me atThis is an example of a thank you letter sent after an interview. Thank you letters are a great way to keep your name and interview in the minds of the interviewees, and thank you letters show a high level of professionalism that may make the difference between getting a job or not getting a job.
27 Cover Letter HelpAccess hundreds of cover letter resources at the Community Writing and Education Station (CWEST):If you don’t have Internet access from home, remember you can access these resources from libraries or WorkOne offices, print out the resources and take them home.