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1 Cover Letters A cover letter is an introduction of your interests, skills and abilities to an employer based upon their company s employment needs. A cover letter also lets the employer know what position Cover letters serve many purposes including highlighting your relevant skills and experience, indicating information your résumé cannot portray (career changes, gaps in employment history, etc.), functioning as the objective on your résumé and providing the employer a snapshot of your personality. Cover letters should accompany every résumé that is sent for a position or possible positions. seriously consider a résumé that is not accompanied by a cover letter;; therefore, an effective cover letter must be incorporated into your job search strategy to increase your chances of being invited for an interview.

2 8 Tips from Wetfeet.com Keep it short. The ideal cover letter is about half a page long, and never exceeds one page. A concise letter demonstrates that you are focused and have strong communication skills. Aim for two to four brief paragraphs. State the position. The recruiter who reads your letter may be hiring for several posts. While candidates who their résumés often include the job title in the subject line of their s, if the recruiter prints a letter out Explain why you want the job. sector. A genuine show of enthusiasm and knowledge will set you apart from those sending generic form letters. Clearly describe ways you will contribute. According to Andrew Posner, a career counselor and web site consultant in San Francisco, this is the most important element of a cover letter. After carefully reading the job description, write a paragraph outlining one or two Match, but don t reiterate, your résumé. should never claim experience in your cover letter that like a liar. At the same time, your cover letter shouldn t simply restate your résumé. When you explain the ways you will contribute, refer to an experience or skill on your résumé to show how you will add value to the company. Even if you think the position is out of your reach, your job Photo provided by bulldogza positive by focusing on your transferable skills and unusual accomplishments. Keep the tone and content professional. more likely than not to think your attempts at humor or stories about your personal life are just plain weird. Tell the reader what you re going to do next. Too many job seekers never follow up after sending a résumé. Saying what you re going to do next is also consider a follow-up if you sent your résumé electronically. Proofread. Again. someone else who knows a thing or two about good writing. Even if your letter is free of typos, poor grammar also makes a bad impression Adapted from WetFeet, Inc., A Universum Company

3 Basic Structure of Cover Letters Although there are two different types of cover letters, interest/inquiry and application, the structure for both is basically the same, however the wording is different. Three basic paragraphs should be incorporated into your cover letter, with additional paragraphs as needed. Your Name and contact information should be in a header that matches your résumé September 3, 2011 Mr./Ms. First Name Last Name, Title Company Name Address City, State Zip RE: XYZ POSITION Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name: Opening paragraph: State why you are writing, identify the position for which you would like to be considered, and Middle paragraph(s) Commission Describe your previous accomplishments as they relate to the position. Identify three reasons for the employer to consider you for the position. State why you want to work for their organization. Closing paragraph: Refer the reader to your enclosed résumé for additional information. End your letter by Thank you for time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Sincerely, Jonathan H. Jones Jonathan H. Jones Enclosure: Résumé Cover Letters 9

4 E S EMILY L. SMITH 1700 Mishawaka Avenue South Bend, IN (574) January 16, 2012 Mr. Brett Newkirk Director of College Recruiting Midwest Mercantile Company 4500 Randolf Drive Chicago, IL Dear Mr. Newkirk: I read your company s description in NACE s Job Choices for Business & Liberal Arts Students and would like to inquire about employment opportunities in your management training program. I want to work in retail management and would like to remain in the Chicago area after graduation. I shall receive my B.S. degree in business this May. My interest in business started in high school and developed further through a variety of sales and retail positions during college. My internship with a large department store convinced me to pursue a career in retail. When I researched the top retailers in Chicago, Midwest Mercantile emerged as having a strong market position, an excellent training program, and a reputation for excellent customer service. In short, you provide the kind of professional environment I seek. My résumé is enclosed for your consideration. My education and experience match the qualifications you seek in your management trainees. I know from customer and supervisor feedback that I have the interpersonal skills and motivation needed to build a successful career in retail management. In addition, my relatively extensive experience gives me confidence in my career direction and in my abilities to perform competently. I know how busy you must be during this time of year, but I would appreciate a few minutes of your time. I shall call you during the week of January 21 to discuss employment possibilities. In the meantime, if you need to contact me, my number is (574) and my e- mail is Thank you very much for considering my request. I look forward to talking with you. Sincerely, Emily Smith Emily L. Smith Enclosure: Résumé Adapted from Banis, William. The Art of Writing Job Search Letters. Job Choices for Business and Liberal Arts Students: : Interest or Inquiry Cover Letter An interest or inquiry cover letter is sent to investigate possible job or internship opportunities. In this type of cover letter, you will need to state how you found out about the organization, why you are sending them your résumé and indicate if you received a referral from someone within the organization. It is important to follow up these types of cover letters within two weeks with a telephone call since you will most likely not receive any response, especially if no positions exist. 10

5 JANE Q. GREEN 1700 Mishawaka Avenue South Bend, Indiana March 14, 2012 Ms. Mary Lou Nelson Manager of Human Resources Hammond Corporation 2900 Rosemont Blvd. Rosemont, IL RE: Director of Fiscal Affairs Position Dear Ms. Nelson: I am applying for the staff Director of Fiscal Affairs position that was advertised with Northwestern University Career Services this week. The position seems to fit very well with my education, experience, and career interests. Your position requires skills in various functions, including general accounting, administration, leadership and personnel development. In my experience as a General Manager, I handled procedural restructuring, analyzed budgets, personnel training, and generated reports. Restructuring changes I made as a general manager saved nearly $50,000 in funds. My enclosed r sum provides more details on my qualifications. My background and career goals seem to match your job requirements well. I am confident that I can perform the job effectively. Furthermore, I am genuinely interested in the position and in working for Hammond Corporation. Your firm has an excellent reputation and comes highly recommended to me. Would you please consider my request for a personal interview to discuss my qualifications and to learn more about this opportunity? I shall call you next week to see if a meeting can be arranged. Should you need to reach me, please feel free to contact me at or Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to talking with you. Sincerely yours, Jane Green Jane Q. Green Application Cover Letter An application cover letter is sent in response to an advertisement for a job or internship opportunity. In this type of letter, you will need to indicate how you found out about the position and relate your skills and As with the interest/inquiry cover letter, it is vital to follow up with the employer within two weeks to ascertain your application status. Adapted from Banis, William. The Art of Writing Job Search Letters. Job Choices for Business and Liberal Arts Students: : Cover Letters 11

6 Handling Salary Requirements and Salary Histories like a salary requirement or history, you should paragraph. Additional Tips organization s culture. Salary Requirements best to indicate that this can be negotiated or discussed in the interview. This allows you position after you are able to discuss the full too high for the employer or too little for what the position deserves. requirement, perhaps because your résumé or application will not be considered without it, you should always give a range. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), located at will also give you a national salary average. word for word, but use key words and terms from the position advertisement. Analyze your own background and demonstrate skills and experiences that relate to the position. friends and family members proofread the letter before sending. Format your cover letter and references to match and be consistent with your résumé style. 12 Salary Histories With a salary history, you want to give the salary history of your recent work experiences or most relevant work experiences. The salary history can be included in one of submit it as a separate document, you should format it to match your cover letter, résumé and references. A salary requirement should always accompany a salary history because your current salary requirement may not match your salary history and some employers may not realize this. or Personnel, if possible. Full-time & part-time opportunities in: Plus: You will experience: Compensation hr.nd.edu

7 To schedule an appointment: (574) JOB SEEKER EVENTS SPRING IU SOUTH BEND CAREER AND INTERNSHIP FAIR Employers will be on campus to recruit new and seasoned professionals as well as interns. This is your opportunity to put to use all the tools available in this book. Monday, March 19, 2012 Noon 4 pm Student Activities Center SOCIAL AND BUSINESS ETIQUETTE DINNER Here s your chance to have all your questions answered! Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Time and location to be announced Seating is limited Cover Letters 13

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