Resume Worksheet: Be sure to check it out! You can use this worksheet to structure your resume.
Resume Samples: (includes: Business Resume, Environmental Science, Management Resume, Theatre Arts Resume)
How to Write a Cover Letter
Much more than an additional page attached to your resume, a cover letter serves as a first impression and personalizing factor in the presentation of "You". Your cover letter can give the reader insight to items not addressed in your resume.
A cover letter has three main purposes:
- It formally introduces you
- It highlights specific information from your resume that applies to a specific field or position
- It helps to facilitate a meeting between you and the employer
Letter of Application (for an advertised job opening)
This type of letter accompanies your mailed or faxed resume when you are responding to an advertisement. Make sure that you comment on specific qualifications that are listed in the advertisement.
Letter of Inquiry (for jobs which are not advertised)
This type of cover letter should accompany your mailed or faxed resume for jobs which are not advertised. You'll want to know the name of the person who should get your resume. A quick call to the company should get you that information.
Cover Letter "Rules"
Your cover letter should be printed on quality stationery that matches your resume paper. The letter should carry one main them. You want to be persuasive in your letter and focus on your "fit". In other words, sell the benefits of hiring you. In addition, keep your cover letter brief and concise. This letter is one way for an employer to check your writing skills. The letter should be one page in length, paragraphs should be to the point, and sentences should be kept short. These points will help make your cover letter easy to read.
EVERY COVER LETTER SHOULD HAVE 3-5 paragraphs:
First paragraph should include:
- Your name, address and phone number
- Position title or type of work you want to do
- How you learned about the position (i.e., newspaper, Monster.com)
Second paragraph should include:
- Brief discussion of your relevant work experience (if applicable)
- Present field/occupation/responsibilities (if relevant)
- Your educational background
- Other information which aids your cause (Sell yourself!)
Third paragraph should include:
- Mention of your attached resume
- A request for an interview
- A follow-up date (i.e., "I will follow up with a phone call next week, if I haven't heard from you.")
- A way to contact you (i.e., e-mail, phone number)
Letter of Application
You are responding to an advertisement in this letter. That will guide some of your text. Make sure that you comment on specific qualifications that are listed in the advertisement.
The Employer's Name:
With advertised openings, you will sometimes be instructed to mail your information to an office, or a title, such as the Director of Human Resources. In this case, you need not find the name of the individual to whom you are writing. You can address the letter to "Dear Director" or Dear Sir/Madam". However, it is always to your benefit, if you can get the name of the appropriate person.
The First Paragraph:
This paragraph should be two or three sentences in length. Start with an interest-creating sentence in which you appeal to the employer's needs. Be as specific as you can about the position desired.
Example: "My editing position with our school newspaper during the last two years has provided me with experience related to the Proofreader position which was advertised in The Columbus Dispatch on March 5. I will graduate from Catawba College in May with a Bachelor's degree in English, and I plan to enter the field of publishing."
If you are a student with related employment experience, you may want to mention your experience instead of your degree in the first paragraph.
Example: "I am very interested in the Loan Officer position which was advertised in the Columbus Dispatch on November 8. I have several years of experience in banking, including significant exposure to loans and mortgages."
The Second Paragraph:
This paragraph is usually three to five sentences in length.
In this paragraph you will emphasize a match between the skills which you possess and those which are required by the employer. Use the advertisement to guide your writing. For example, if an advertisement mentions specific courses in your major, then point out in the letter that you have had those courses! If an advertisement indicates that the successful candidate will possess excellent speaking skills, then make sure you mention previous or current employment, class projects, presentations, or any other examples of your experience. If you are underqualified for the advertised position, you can include a statement about related experience, or an example of your proven ability to learn new information quickly. Remember that the advertisement is often a "wish list" and that you might not need all of the qualifications that are listed.
At the end of this paragraph make a reference to your resume. Some options are:
- Please see my enclosed resume for a more complete view of my background and qualifications.
- My enclosed resume will give you a better view of my skills and abilities.
- Please see my enclosed resume for more information.
If you have both academic qualifications and career-related work experience, you may want to separate this middle paragraph into two paragraphs. By doing this, you can focus on each of these subjects individually.
The Third Paragraph:
Two to three sentences in length.
This is the paragraph in which you tell the employer how to get in touch with you, and thank the person for taking time to give you consideration. Some examples are:
- Should you need additional information, you can reach me at (704) 637-4384 during the evening, or leave a message at (704) 637-3117 during the day. I am available for an interview at your convenience. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
- I am excited about the possibility of working for ResUMe. Should you need more information, you can reach me at (704) 637-4384. I am available for an interview at your convenience. Thank you for your time.