Whenever you send a resume out to an employer, you should always send an accompanying letter that explains why you are contacting them. This letter is called the covering letter. (Send a cover letter even when faxing.)

If the employer receives a resume without a covering letter, he or she may be asking him or herself, “Is this person applying for the advertised position?” or “Does this applicant wish for me to keep this resume on file in case an opening occurs in the future?” Basically, the employer would like to know why he or she is being contacted.

You can answer these questions on a covering letter. In one typewritten page, you tell the employer what position you are applying for, how you qualify, and why you should be considered for the job. It also gives you a chance to point out your best qualities.

Following, are some general guidelines for writing covering letters, a sample format, and an example of an effective cover letter.

General Guidelines

1. Make it short – 3 to 5 paragraphs – and concise. It’s a précis only; an executive summary of relevant information.

2. Make it personal! Address the reader by name and title; unless otherwise stated, this is usually the person who has the authority to hire.

3. Make it researched! Briefly refer to the organization’s goals and/or needs, to show that you have done some investigation.

4. Make it focused! Study the job responsibilities and qualifications, then pull relevant details from all your experiences, whether on your resume or not, to support your application.

5. Make it interesting! Show your enthusiasm and uniqueness in a warm but professional manner.

6. Make it a request for action! Repeat your interest in the position and ask for an interview.

7. Make it perfect! Make absolutely no mistakes, typos, or smudges; have someone else proofread it to double check.

8. Make it eye appealing! Unless otherwise requested, type or word process your covering letter, using the darkest, sharpest-reproducing printer you can find (a laser printer); use white, or off-white paper only; NO WIMPY PASTELS.

(SEE SAMPLE COVER LETTER FORMAT ON NEXT PAGE)

SAMPLE COVER LETTER FORMAT

Your Name

Your Street Address

City, Province

Postal Code

Date

Name of Contact

Title or Position of Contact

Company Name

Street Address

City, Province

Postal Code

Dear Ms. or Mr. (name of contact)

Introductory Paragraph – Why are you writing? Show interest! Tell the reader what position you are applying for and how you learned about the job.

Second Paragraph – What do you have to offer? How do your skills, interests, and experience relate to what the employer seems to need? Base your comments on words and phrases used in the job description.

Third Paragraph – Why are you interested in working for this company? Demonstrate that you know something about it. (The company to which you apply)

Concluding Paragraph – Summarize your appropriateness for, and interest in, the position. Tell why you think you are the best candidate for the job. Ask politely for an interview with the contact person.

Yours sincerely,

Your signature here (Use blue or black ink pen)

Your name typed here

Enclosure

(Indicates your resume and transcript are attached)

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