Your Cover Letter by iUvB502


									 Building Your Marketing Package
            Step Two
   Your Cover Letter

Cover Letter Handbook

            Enrollment Services
    Career Planning and Advising Center
     2nd Floor Behrakis Student Center
              Haverhill Campus
    Northern Essex Community College
             Fax: 978-556-3675
Your Cover Letter
I thought a resume was all I needed to start my job search. Why do I need a cover letter?

You should always include a cover letter when you send a resume to a prospective employer. Your
resume gives the employer a brief history of your education and experience, usually in a rather
impersonal manner. The cover letter lends a personal touch; it should grab the reader’s attention and make
him/her want to read your resume. It should stimulate the reader’s interest and show how you can satisfy
the potential employer’s needs. Include the following information in your letter:

       The position in which you are interested.
       How you became aware of the opportunity.
       Reference to aspects of your experience and/or education that relate directly to the position in
        which you are interested.
       The personal traits that qualify you for consideration for this position.
       A request for an interview.

Several sample letters are included at the end of this section.

General Tips

       Do some research--There are two reasons to find out as much as you can about the company to
        which you are applying. First of all, your research may give you some clues as to the style of the
        reader and what degree of formality you should use in your cover letter. Secondly, you may learn
        something about the company that you can use in a cover letter or in an interview. It will
        undoubtedly impress your reader if he/she feels that you are somewhat knowledgeable about
        his/her company.

       Use paper that matches your resume--Again, use white, off-white, or cream bond paper of
        excellent quality. Your envelope should also be of matching stock.

       Personalize your letter--Always address each letter to a specific person with his/her correct job
        title. If you don’t know the person’s name, call the company and ask. Never address your job
        search correspondence “To Whom It May Concern.” If you are unable to learn the person’s name
        (e.g., if you are responding to a blind ad), use “Dear Sir or Madam.”

       Make it flawless--Your cover letter must be absolutely perfect in terms of typing, layout,
        spelling, and punctuation. Use proper business letter format and grammatically correct sentence

       Keep it short, concise, and interesting--Your cover letter should be precisely worded and
        should not exceed one page in length. If your first draft is too long, reread it and cut out any
        superfluous information. Stick to facts and action words. Vary your sentence structure and try not
        to use the word “I” any more than necessary.

       Project confidence--Strike a balance between bragging and begging. Be as objective as possible
        in highlighting your strengths. Avoid phrases such as, “If you think I’m qualified…” or, “I hope
        you find my…”.

       Don’t apologize--If you feel you lack experience, don’t apologize or make excuses; emphasize
        your strong points.
       Use active, not passive voice--For example, “I entered all data into the computer,” not “the data
        was entered in the computer by me.”

       Let your personality come through--Be yourself, but be businesslike, too. Avoid sounding too
        stiff or too cute, and avoid slang. Be pleasant and enthusiastic. Emphasize your positive personal
        traits as they relate to past accomplishments and to the position you want.

       Don’t rehash the resume--use your cover letter to reaffirm or elaborate upon accomplishments
        and skills that meet the requirements of the position.

       Avoid mentioning salary--Providing information about your current or desired salary can often
        put you out of the running for a job. If it is absolutely required, cite a range, such as “mid-to-
        upper twenties” or “low to mid-thirties.”

       Make is easy for the employer to contact you--Include your phone number in your cover letter,
        either in the body or as a part of your letterhead. If at all possible, get an answering machine. If
        you don’t have one, be specific in your letter as to when you can be reached.

The Opening Paragraph

       Solicited: If you are responding to an advertisement or a job posting, your first paragraph should
        include the name of the position for which you are applying and how you became aware of the
        opening (e.g., the name of the newspaper or the person who referred you).

       Unsolicited: In an unsolicited letter, you still must tell the reader in which position you are
        interested. It is also important to grab the reader’s attention and spark his/her interest with the
        first paragraph. If you have a name to drop, do it! This can serve as a recommendation in your
        favor if you can mention the name of a credible person known to the employer, such as a
        colleague or valued employee. Be sure to check with that person before using his/ her name.

The Middle Paragraphs

The middle section should summarize your key qualifications, supported with evidence of your ability to
perform. Show how your education and experience have prepared you for this position and mention
relevant desirable personal traits. Focus on what you can do for the prospective employer, basing your
information on past accomplishments.

If you are writing in response to an advertisement or job posting, it is important that you specifically
address as many of the requirements specified in the ad or posting as possible. If you do not meet some of
the requirements, do not mention them; rather, stress related qualifications you do possess that will
strengthen your candidacy.

The Closing Paragraph

In the closing paragraph, you should ask for an interview and tell the reader how to reach you. When
requesting an interview, try to sound confident, but not demanding. You may also reiterate your strongest
selling points.
Example of a cover letter sent as the result of a referral

88 Central St.
Rowley, MA 01969
April 5, 2003

Ms. Moriah Kim
The Carousel
Stoningham Mall
Salem, NH 03079

Dear Ms. Kim:

I was pleased to learn from Susan Goldman, Carousel manager at the Circle One Mall, that you
have an opening for a management trainee at your Stoningham Mall store.

As a recent graduate of Northern Essex Community College with an Associate Degree in
Business Management with a concentration in Retailing, I have been following the ongoing
media coverage regarding the phenomenal growth of the Carousel chain. Your unique
management training program seems to have played an important role in Carousel’s success, and
I would welcome the opportunity to embark upon a career with Carousel as a management

As indicated in my enclosed resume, I have had four years’ experience as a sales associate in
retail establishments where I have consistently exceeded daily, weekly, and monthly sales goals
and acquired valuable merchandising knowledge. My qualifications also include an eye for style
and color and excellent customer service skills. I am confident that I can make a significant
contribution to the continued success of Carousel.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications for this position and may be
reached at (978) 555-1481. Your consideration is greatly appreciated.


Meredith Athanas

Enclosure: Resume
Example of a cover letter sent as the result of a referral

17 Atlantic Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
April 5, 2003

Mr. Edwin Sherborne, Director
Department of Social Services
City Hospital
5 Main Street
Haverhill, MA 01830

Dear Mr. Sherborne:

Susan Shore in the Cooperative Education office at Northern Essex Community College
suggested that I contact you regarding City Hospital’s opening for a Social Services Intern.

As my enclosed resume indicates, I have acquired valuable skills throughout my community
service experience. As an AIDS hotline volunteer, I have learned to be non-judgmental,
objective, and to advocate effectively for people in crisis. In addition, as a mediator for my high
school’s Conflict Resolution Task Force, I have developed some basic counseling skills and the
ability to assist people in negotiating their differences.

These experiences have been very positive for me and have strengthened my desire to pursue a
career in social work. As a social services major at Northern Essex Community College, I have
studied the theory that reinforces my hands-on experience. My fluency in Spanish would enable
me to communicate with your Spanish-speaking clients and their families.

I intend to continue my education with the goal of becoming a licensed social worker. I would
welcome the opportunity to intern in the Department of Social Services at City Hospital, and am
confident that I could make a significant contribution to your department. I look forward to meeting
with you to discuss my qualifications for this position and may be reached at (978) 555-7172.
Thank you for your consideration.


Roberto Tavares

Enclosure: Resume
Example of an unsolicited letter sent as a follow-up to an informational interview

                                      Norma E. Learner
                                    2001 North Essex Circle
                                    Methuen, MA 01800.0000

April 5, 2003

Alvin P. Lyndon
Marketing Production Manager
Just Right Company
111 Commercial Way
Haverhill, MA 01830

Dear Mr. Lyndon:

I am writing to you for two reasons. First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer
my questions about your marketing production department. I appreciate your valuable insights
into the future needs of employers and managers in the commercial arts field.

The second reason is to give you more information about my professional and academic background.
As you can see from my resume, I am currently attending Northern Essex Community College with
my sights set on a successful career in visual communications.

My recent accomplishments include:

   Participation in a design team that juried, compiled, and assembled a student literary and arts
    magazine, Parnassus.

   Design of a poster and flyer for an open house at Northern Essex Community College’s
    Women's Resource Center.

   Over 1000 hours of computer time logged using: Illustrator 5.0, Freehand 5.0,
    QuarkXPress 3.0, and PageMaker 5.0.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my qualifications for a Design Assistant position
with Just Right. I will be calling you Wednesday, July 8 to confirm your receipt of my resume
and to answer any questions you might have. Thank you for your consideration.


Norma E. Learner

Enclosure: Resume
Example of a cover letter sent in response to advertisement

71 Main Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
April 5, 2003

Mr. Francis Morehouse
Morehouse, Rogers, and Epstein
79 Vista Way
Haverhill, MA 01830

Dear Mr. Morehouse:

Your advertisement for an assistant bookkeeper in the March 30th issue of The Eagle Tribune
attracted my attention because your requirements so closely match my background.

I will be graduating next month with a degree in accounting from Northern Essex Community
College, where my courses have included a number of general accounting courses, as well as
courses in tax, cost, and computerized accounting. I have achieved a 3.6 grade point average
while carrying a full course load and working part time.

As my enclosed resume indicates, I have also participated in the Cooperative Education Program
at Northern Essex. My internship was at Community Services, Inc., where I assisted the chief
financial officer in all areas, including payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and general
ledger through trial balance.

You indicated in your advertisement that you need an assistant bookkeeper who is familiar with
computerized accounting systems. During my internship at Community Services, I played a
major role in the implementation of their new computerized accounting system. In my
evaluation, my supervisor commented, “Joy’s knowledge of both accounting and computers was
invaluable to us during this period. We couldn't have done it without her.”

I would appreciate this opportunity to interview for this position and may be reached at
(978) 374-5555. Thank you for your consideration.


Joy Cabrera

Enclosure: Resume

To top