Purpose of cover letters
Explains why you are sending your
Tells how you learned about the
position or organization
Convinces the reader to look at your
Calls attention to aspects of your
Reflects your attitude
Provides specifically requested
Indicates what you will do to follow up
There are three basic parts to a cover letter:
An introduction - a statement of who you are and
why you are sending the letter
A sales pitch - an overview of your qualifications,
skills, abilities, and accomplishments
A call to action - a request for a specific action such
as an interview
Ideally, you will cover these three basic parts in just 3 - 5
concise paragraphs typed on one page. The following
is an outline of how the "typical" cover letter content
statement of who you are and why you are
sending the letter
Immediately state the position you are
interested in and the reason that you would
be the best candidate for this position.
If you are responding to an advertisement,
If you have been doing research into the
company, this is a good place to mention it.
A sales pitch
an overview of your qualifications, skills,
abilities, and accomplishments
Discuss your qualifications and show how the
company will benefit from them.
Highlight your special accomplishments. Consider
using bullets to make these stand out.
If you are responding to an advertisement, use
this paragraph to detail how your background
parallels the qualification requirements mentioned
in the ad.
Don't feel that you need to write a detailed
synopsis of your employment history. Include just
the highlights and the pertinent information.
A call to action
a request for a specific action such as an
Make it clear to the reader that you would
like to speak to them in person.
Specifically ask for an interview and make
sure that you include your telephone
number and any special instructions to
Alternatively, write that you will follow up
with a telephone call on a specific date at a
specific time and then make sure that you
The closing of your letter should appear two lines
under the body. Align this with your return address.
This may be either on the right or left margin,
depending on the style you chose.
A simple "Sincerely," will usually be fine. Under this,
apply four lines and type your name. Make certain
that after the letter is printed, you insert your
signature above this.
Type an enclosure line on the left margin and several
lines under your name. This may be in the form
"Enclosure" or "Enc. resume".
Whenever possible, use an envelope that matches
Try to avoid using mailing labels as this makes your
envelope look similar to a bulk mailing and it may not
Although it is acceptable to hand address or type the
envelope, some experts believe that a hand written
envelope will be more likely to be noticed and opened
as it resembles personal correspondence. If you have
the time and are sending only a few letters at a time,
you may wish to use this method, otherwise, it may
be more efficient to print the envelopes using a mail
Common cover letter mistakes
Sounds like a form letter
“To whom it may concern”
Not using the company’s name
Not demonstrating how your background and
skills are a fit for the position
Using an inappropriate writing style
Edit your writing
Grammar, spelling and punctuation
Usually 3 - 5 individuals
ALWAYS ask first
More on references
Provide a copy of your
Keep references informed
List references on a separate
7 Apple Court
Eugene, OR 97401
Mr. Archie Weatherby
California Investments, Inc.
25 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Dear Mr. Weatherby,
My outgoing personality, my sales experience, and my recently completed education make me a
strong candidate for a position as an insurance broker for California Investments, Inc.
I recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in marketing, where I was
president of both the Future Business Leaders of America and the American Marketing
Although a recent graduate, I am not a typical new graduate. I attended school in Michigan,
Arizona, and Oregon. And I've put myself through these schools by working such jobs as radio
advertising sales, newspaper subscription sales, and bartending, all of which enhanced my formal
I have the maturity, skills, and abilities to embark on a career in insurance brokering, and I'd like
to do this in California, my home state.
I will be in California at the end of this month, and I'd like very much to talk with you concerning
a position at California Investments. I will follow up this letter with a phone call to see if I can
arrange a time to meet with you.
Thank you for your time and consideration.