Cover Letter and Job Application
WRITING A COVER LETTER
The principle function of a cover letter is to inform the potential employer about the type of
position you are seeking. The cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself and at the same
time add a personal touch to your resume. Most cover letters can be written in three paragraphs
using less than 200 words.
Here is a brief format outline:
The first paragraph introduces your purpose for writing. Perhaps you got the company's
name from a networking contact or from an ad or trade article. The first paragraph is a
good place to mention it.
The second paragraph briefly summarizes your experience as it relates to your
prospective employer's needs. It should answer the basic question of "Why should the
company hire you?"
Like any good sales pitch the final paragraph should propose a course of action. Use this
paragraph to propose an interview or better yet indicate you will be contacting your
potential employer to arrange an interview.
The following page includes a sample outline for a cover letter.
Sample Cover Letter Format
Your mailing address
Your phone number, including area code
Date letter is mailed
Name and title of a specific person
Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Last Name, (If the person has a unisex first name, use his or her full
name. For women, use Ms. unless you know they use the prefix Mrs.).
First Paragraph: In your initial paragraph, state the reason for the letter, the specific position or
type of work for which you are applying, and indicate from which resource (placement center,
news media, friend, employment service) you learned of the opening. Your first sentence should
catch the reader's attention and reflect your interest in the company.
Second Paragraph: Indicate why you are interested in the position, the company, its products or
services - above all, clearly state what you can do for the employer. If you are a recent graduate,
explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate for the position. If you
had some practical work experience, point out your specific achievements or unique
qualifications. Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find in your résumé.
Final Paragraph: In the closing paragraph, refer the reader to the enclosed résumé or application
that summarizes your qualifications, training, and experiences. Indicate your desire for a
personal interview and your flexibility as to the time and place. If the job announcement requests
no phone calls, repeat your phone number in the letter. If no such request is made, state that you
will call on a certain date to set up an interview. Salary information should only be provided
Your typed name
GUIDELINES FOR COMPLETING A JOB APPLICATION
1. Print clearly or type your application. Do not use all capital letters.
2. When signing the application, use a pen with blue or black ink, not a pencil. Pencil lead
smears easily and is difficult to read.
3. Neatness counts. A neat looking application demonstrates that you take pride in your work.
4. Answer every question. If a question doesn’t apply to you, write an “n/a” (not applicable).
5. Be flexible about your hours and salary. You might appear unavailable or price yourself out
of a job. Instead write, “Open.”
6. Be accurate. Make sure all names are spelled correctly and all addresses, telephone numbers
and dates are complete and correct. An inaccurate application suggests that you are a
7. Make sure you have permission to use a person’s name before you offer him or her as a
8. Make sure your reason for leaving a job is a good one. Managers are not impressed with
employees who continually move from job to job.
9. Be honest. Do not exaggerate; any misrepresentation or omission of information is sufficient
grounds for immediate dismissal from your job.
10. Be sure to sign and date the application after you check it over carefully.
11. A sample application is included on the following 2 pages.
Cover Letter & Application Rubric Name __________________
1. First paragraph introduces purpose of writing _______/ 10
2. Second paragraph summarizes experience to fit employer needs _______/ 10
3. Third paragraph proposes a course of action _______/ 10
4. Spelling, grammar, format (see example, must be typed) _______/ 40
1. Neatness and professional look _______/ 20
2. Completeness and Accuracy _______/ 20
3. Reasons for leaving previous jobs are appropriate _______/ 20
4. References contact information is complete _______/ 10
5. Salary is left, “Open” or a reflects a researched salary range _______/ 10
Total _______/ 150