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Step Three: Craft Your Cover Letters

Cover letters are a critical component of your job search process and a necessary companion to your resume. Effective letters are as important in the job search process as an effective resume, as employers often read the cover letter before they read the enclosed resume.

Usually, the first paragraph is why you are writing to them and addresses the position or type of position you are applying for. The second details your skills, experiences, and training that matches their needs. The final paragraph indicated your contact and follow-up information.

Other important tips for cover letter writing:
Always include a cover letter with your resume!
Each letter needs to be tailored to the position for which you are applying!
Be certain to explain how your past experience qualifies you for the position.
Always proofread your cover letters to make sure there are no typing mistakes or grammatical errors.
It is strongly recommended that you have someone review your letter prior to sending it to an employer.
Make a copy of the letter for your personal files and keep it with the position advertisement.
Single-space the body, double space between paragraphs.
Avoid beginning your cover letter with the word “I.” Also, avoid using the word “I” repetitiously at the beginning of your sentences throughout your letter.
If you fax or e-mail a resume, include a formal cover letter in addition to the fax cover sheet. It also is wise to send hard copies of your cover letter and resume after you fax them.

Cover Letter/Email Message Formula

Name (Create "personal stationery" for all paper correspondence)
City, State, zip
E-mail, Phone Number

Date (Date on all written correspondence)

Contact Name, Job Title
Company Name
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Hiring Manager: (Salutation needed for both written and email)

Please accept this letter and the attached resume as my application for _______________________ I learned of the position through ______________. (In both letters and emails, this paragraph says why you are writing and how you heard about the position)

During the last twelve years, my experience has been concentrated in working with a variety of people and addressing their needs and concerns. For the past eight years, I have worked in the furniture industry doing both office support and customer service. At these companies, my strong organizational skills have allowed me to efficiently manage a large variety of tasks. In addition, I am a great listener who is empathetic and dedicated to providing outstanding service to customers. Please take a moment to review my resume which details my qualifications in more detail.(In both letters and email, this paragraph states why you are qualified)  

I would welcome the opportunity to further discuss how my experience would be an asset to your organization. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Please feel free to contact me at: (phone number). (In both letters and emails, this paragraph asks for the interview and states how to get in touch with you)

Sincerely, (Always add closing and name)
Your Name

Alternative Cover Letter

Jayne Dough
123 Parkside Drive
Des Plaines, Illinois 60016
(847) 555-1506

August 7, 2007

Ms. Michelle Ditka
Amazon Youth Services
123 Amazon Lane
Amazon, IL 123456

Dear Ms. Ditka,

Please accept this e-mail and the attached resume as my application for Youth Services Clerical Assistant. I learned of the job through Jerry Jones, who works in your shipping department.

I am very interested in this position because it will allow me to use my training in business and accounting in a work setting. My qualifications include:
   • A background in data entry and accounting with a typing speed of 25 wpm
   • An ability to work with a wide range of people
   • An ability to speak fluent English and Polish, and an understanding of some Russian
   • Working knowledge of accounting procedures
   • Basic knowledge of QuickBooks, MS Excel, MS Word

As someone trying to successfully make a career change, I will work very hard for you so that I build a firm foundation in this field. Please take a moment to review my resume for more information about my background. I look forward to the chance to interview with you. The best way to reach me is through my home telephone, 847-555-1506.

Jayne Dough

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