ABC of Cover Letter
Your Crucial Sales Pitch to Get to an
Cover Letter as an Absolute Must
• No Resume without Cover Letter EVER
• Function: Sales pitch to get Attention->Action
• Function: To get interest to read your resume from the
need of the company (and the reader’s) point.
Central MESSAGE: My background & credentials are an
excellent match to the NEEDS of the COMPANY
• Length: 0.5 – 1 page
• Quality: with a drive & total commitment, concise, no
single error, perfectly organized, positive, next action-
WHAT ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR?
• COMMITMENT (extremely important!) – it is THE RULE of the game of writing! :
Show & reconfirm: your specific interest & knowledge (industry+company),
high degree of certainty of your plans.
Your effort to make the Letter errors-free is a part of your COMMITMENT message too.
• MATURITY & CONFIDENCE
(no wishy-washy language, no “maybe”, no “if you like me” messages: no hesitation!) However, no bragging, no
declarations : find the best balance in self-presentation to sound mature and confident.
Prep work: write down your “advantages” (why are YOU different from others?)
State about quality of your education (schools), achievements, background (with a link to the needs/nature of business of the
company). Uniqueness of experience, cross cultural and international mobility skills –very important and hard to find on the
Quality of your Letter is a part of your Professionalism.
• ADAPTABILITY & GROWTH (You are a fast learner? A hard-worker? Keep in mind that you had to work for 60-
90 hours per week during your MIB/MITIM education, right?)
STEPS IN COMMUNICATION TO LAND A JOB
• Define your interests & directions. Network. Talk with & Ask Everyone about any links, background
info, referrals! Internet is your Best friend in the search! Use on-line and real-life
headhunting/recruiting agencies. Think of the profs who may be a great source of links, info and
referrals. Think of Alumni and EMBA. Check out the lists of the companies which are GSOM
partners, have hired our grads and have hired our students as interns.
• Letter of Interest/Request for an “informational meeting” is a very important tool to start learning,
networking and to ask for referrals
• Polish your “generic” Resume, make several templates with different OBJECTIVEs
• Develop your “generic” Cover Letter & templates for several scenarios (e.g. a company, an
• Learn about the companies you choose. Get contacts to personalize your letter. File them neatly
for future reference as well.
• Customize Resume & Cover Letter, send them
• Call in 1-2 days after the Addressee may get the package – to follow up (“I want to reconfirm my
• Interview -> Thank you Letter
• Offer? Letter of Acceptance OR a Thank You Rejection-Letter
ONE CAN NEVER BE TOO NICE. NEVER HESITATE TO SAY THANK YOU. IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, HAVE A GOAL AND
YOU HAVE A message of appreciation IN COMMUNICATION, YOU WILL DISCOVER A LOT OF PEOPLE WILLING TO
HELP YOU. BUT YOU NEED TO ASK.
Prep Work for a Cover Letter
• Even if a resume only is requested, always a Cover
Letter shall accompany it
• Prepare a collection of “handy phrases” & templates
for future usage (see below)
• Make a “personal stationary” looking doc (see below)
• Make a list of your strengths for a particular case of the
company and its needs
• Organize info about the company and major contacts,
including telephone ## to follow up
• Don’t build ceilings for yourself. Write to high-level
contacts & make yourself globally and nationally
Writing Your Cover Letter -1
• ALWAYS personalize it!
• Be concise but clear for understanding. Focus
reader’s attention to your “selling points”
• Typesetting shall give it the sharpest image.
• Proofreading is crucial. Spellchecking is a
must but is NOT a substitute for repeated
proofreading. Ask others to proofread it
additionally to your own proofreading.
Writing Your Cover Letter -2
• Return Address:
Your Street Address, Apt.#
City, Country Zip (no comma between Country & Zip)
Tel. (first – the current, then – additional, if any)
(Location on the page is either Central, in bold, OR on the right top side)
• DATE – either under Your address – it is on the right side, or OVER the Addressee
information on the right or left side
• The Addressee:
2 lines beneath the date. Always find the name & title before you send out anything!
Mr. (Ms.) full name (double-check the spelling!)
Full company name
Street address, suite # (Ste. 205)
Writing Your Cover Letter -3
• The Salutation:
2 Lines under the company’s address. Should begin with Mr. or Ms. (never Mrs. –unless
the person herself uses the abbreviation), then followed with the last name and a colon
(:). Even if you have spoken with the person and he/she asked to be called by first
name, never use the first name in the salutation.
Avoid using abbreviations unknown for the reader. It is not a job of the reader to figure
out what you mean.
Use action verbs rather than process verbs.
In Paragraph#1 state immediately & concisely the purpose of the letter
(position/function you wish to be considered for).
In the last paragraph specifically request an interview or mention that you will be calling
to request an interview (call 1-2 days after the person gets your Cover Letter & Resume)
Your Cover Letter should give appearance of being a half or ¾ page long
Writing Your Cover Letter -4
• Paragraph #1 – the opening phrase
I am strongly interested in an internship opportunity/opportunity to participate in a project
at …..during July-August 2009 in Europe or Russia. OR I am very interested in obtaining a
position with your company. OR Maria Ivanova, director of…… suggested that I contact you
regarding an opening you may have for a …….(position)/regarding a potential entry-level
management opening at your company. OR I am writing in response to your St.Petersburg
Times /company website advertisement for the position of….. OR I would like to explore
the possibility of joining your organization as ….., perhaps in your Finance Division . OR I am
writing in reference to your opening for an Intern position/……..which I learned of through
the Career Center at the Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University
(OR any appropriate phrase from any samples of Cover Letters).
Possible continuation (may be placed in the end of your Letter instead): I strongly believe that
my education from the best business school in Russia, excellent cross-cultural training,
foreign languages proficiency and my commitment to work at your company qualify me for
…. Make this phrase crisp /short/bold and rather hard-hitting
Writing Your Cover Letter -5
• Paragraph #2
Explain why your background makes you the best candidate for the position by stating your
qualifications benefitting the company. Be brief but emphasize the points which will
show how you will contribute to the company. The Cover Letter is not to summarize
your background additionally to Resume, but to highlight 1-2 of your
achievements/abilities to make you stand out from the crowd, be remembered and be
invited to an Interview. Just several ideas:
I am a master student of a unique Master in International Technology & Innovations Management (MITIM) double-
degree international program run by a top business school in Russia (Graduate School of Management at St.
Petersburg State University) and a leading technology university in Finland (School of Business, Lappeenranta
University of Technology). Though I still have another year of learning before I graduate, I have a strong interest to
apply my knowledge and skills as a summer intern during July-August 2009. My previous background includes not
only an undergraduate degree in …, but also professional work experience in ……..
I am a master student of the Master in International Business (MIB) program at the Graduate School of Management at
St.Petersburg State University which is a leading Russian business school with the most important prestigious
world accreditations. Besides gaining excellent education of the best world standards, I have got consulting
experience as a member of a consulting team at ….. responsible for a 8 week project.
I am graduating from …….. In addition to a strong background in business and management, I have studied ….(the
course necessary for the job you are apply for/company needs). I am sure my fluency in … and one semester of
studying at ….. will also prove to be particularly useful in this position.
Writing Your Cover Letter -6
• Paragraph #3
Describe your interest in the company and familiarity with the industry by using your
company research results.
I am attracted to … by your recent fast growth in Russia and a superior reputation of your products. OR
I am particularly interested in working for….because of its long-standing reputation in the market and extensive
expansion to ….
OR Continue to elaborate on the strengths which would constitute a high value of you
as a candidate for a further international success of the company.
I also offer a great deal of work experience, having worked as… for…… I have additional project management
experience as a part of a team of ….. At….. These jobs have given me valuable insight into the corporate
world. It also strengthened my interest in …….
OR I also have important work experience as …… In this position, I …… OR I have held a number of sales-
related positions which I greatly enjoyed. In addition, I am a true “people person” and a hard worker who
loves a good challenge.
Writing Your Cover Letter -7
• Final Paragraph
In this closing paragraph, ask for an interview. Include your phone # and the
hours when you can be reached if it’s relevant. As an alternative, mention
that you will follow up with a phone call within the next several days. Call in 1-
2 days. If no luck – ask about the best time to reach the person. You are
showing your Commitment.
I would appreciate a chance to meet with you or your colleagues at the earliest convenience. I am best reached between 3 and 5
p.m. at +7 911 151 8643
OR I would greatly appreciate a chance to speak further with you or your colleague, regarding any opportunities for
internship/employment at ….. Department / at your company.
OR I will be calling you the week of April 20 th to make sure that you received my resume. Perhaps we could schedule a short
meeting/interview at this time? OR I would greatly appreciate the chance to speak with you further, regarding this or other
opportunity for internship/employment at your company.
OR I have enclosed/attached my resume for your review. Please feel free to call me to discuss any questions that you may ha ve. I
look forward to our meeting.
OR I would be very grateful if you would consider me for any project/internship positions that you may have openings for.
OR I look forward to any opportunity to meet with you to further discuss the value which my qualifications may bring to your
OR I would very much like to become a part of your team. I look forward to hearing from you/I will be glad about any
opportunity to meet with you when your schedule permits.
OR I would greatly appreciate if you can forward my Resume to your colleagues with whom I can meet to discuss how I can bring
a good value to your company’s further success
OR I look forward to meeting you. I would like to give you a call to follow up on this letter in the end of next week.
Writing Your Cover Letter -8
• The Closing
Should begin with 2 lines under the body of the letter. Should be aligned with your
return address (if it is positioned towards the top right side) and the date. Keep
the closing simple (“Sincerely” or “With my best wishes”).
4 lines underneath this and aligned with the “Sincerely”, state your full name,
preferably with your initial of the middle name (patronymic name). Sign above
your stated name.
• The Enclosure Line
It is to help your employer to see you as a detail-oriented, meticulous professional if
you include an enclosure/an attachment line at the bottom of the letter:
Writing Your Cover Letter -9
• Write your Cover Letter. Proofread it.
Can you see Commitment(Interest)-Maturity-Professionalism-
Adaptability-Responsibility message in it?
Does it take very short time to understand the purpose of the
If you were the Company, would you like to switch to reading
the attached Resume?
Do you see any points which match the needs of the
Would you hire the Author of the Cover Letter and Resume?
What would irritate you or make comprehension of the Letter
(and Resume) difficult/uncomfortable?
• Sites to help you with Cover Letters:
• There are plenty of them, but use your critical thinking skills to use the
samples really matching your needs.
• Give preference to English-language sources since Cover Letter writing has
a totally “western” nature. Therefore, Russian standards are a fruit of the
• The Look of your Cover Letter in Russian may vary, but always remember
that it should be very structured and easy to understand your focus points.
Options of layout. Personal Stationary Sample
ELENA V. KORNYSHKOVA
Leninsky Pr. …, Apt….
St.Petersburg, Russia 196066
+7 911 151 8643 (mob)
Ms. Jane Black
Director, Marketing Department
Address is optional
March 20, 2009
Dear Ms. Black:
Options of layout
Leninsky Prosp. …, Apt…
St.Petersburg, Russia 196066
Tel: +7 812 373 6262
March 25, 2009
Ms. Jane Black
Address is optional
Dear Ms. Black:
I am writing to express my great interest in any internship opportunity at PPPQ-Russia during July-August 2009. …..
I am looking for hearing from you soon.
RULE # “SUPER IMPORTANT”
• LEARN ABOUT OPPORTUNITY & COMPANY. EXPAND YOUR
HORIZONS. GET CONTACT INFO.
• PROOFREAD SEVERAL TIMES! We love to miss a lot of mistakes
which can have a harming effect.
• GET INTO EMPLOYER’S SHOES & READ AGAIN:
Would you hire yourself? If NO, then seek advice. Re-make your
Cover Letter & Resume. Proof-read it. Every tiny detail matters.
Follow up with a telephone call. Never give up until you hear NO
from the company! Continue to work with other alternatives