If you are applying for a job that requires a resume, you should write a cover letter to accompany your resume. The purpose of these letters is to tell how your job talents will benefit the company, to show why the employer should read your resume, and to ask for a job interview. Use these guidelines when preparing a cover letter and keep a copy for your records. Your cover letter:

  1. Is a sales pitch, and an attention getter. Identify the single most important reason why you should get further consideration for the job.
  2. Should enable the reader to make a connection between him/herself and your background.
  3. Identifies mutual acquaintances or company employees if you know any.
  4. Expresses your knowledge of the company.
  5. Is a personal communication between you and the employer.
  6. Does not repeat, but can highlight information in the resume.
  7. Is short and to the point – no more than half a page.
  8. Mentions why you would like to work for the company.
  9. Must have perfect grammar and spelling.
  10. Identifies relocation issues (willing to relocate).
  11. Uses the same bond paper as your resume.

Make sure your cover letter is specific to the person you want to talk to (the person who would actually supervise you), and specify the position you are seeking and how you heard about the position.

General Outline for a Cover Letter

Your Name Your Street Address City, State, Zip Code Date of LetterEmployer’s Name Employer’s Title Company Name Street Address City, State, Zip CodeDear (Employer’s Name):Introduction Paragraph: You want to tell the reader why you are writing and name the position or department for which you are applying. You also want to capture the reader’s attention. Mention how you heard about the organization or the opening. Name someone you and the reader know in common or someone in the company that knows you. Show you’ve done some research on the company by talking about new projects the company has taken on, the particular management philosophy they use, or citing something you’ve read about them.Body: In this section you want to build a connection between your background and the company’s needs. If you have any directly related experience or education, summarize it here so the reader can be looking for it in your resume. If you have used skills or have accomplishments that relate to the job, mention them here. You are effectively summarizing your skills as they relate to the company research you have done. Be sure to do this in a confident manner.Concluding Information: Indicate your interest in working for the company and hearing from the reader. Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.Sincerely, Your Signature Your Name Typed Enclosure

  Sample Cover Letter

James Donaldson 10 Emerson Drive Capetown, Florida 33333 (101) 555-1234February 5, 2010Ms. Mary Smith, Personnel Director Accounting Software International 5678 East Doral Street, Suite #1200 Lockridge, Tennessee 77777Dear Ms. Smith;In response to your ad in the Lockridge Examiner, dated January 30, 2010, I am enclosing my resume for consideration.I was particularly attracted to your position because of my interest in accounting software and the opportunity to use my computer skills in a more specialized career.I have extensive experience and skills that are relevant to this position. My particular expertise is in implementation and training conversions to new computer software systems and programs. I strongly feel that my talents could be valuable to Accounting Software International when achieving corporate goals.I believe I would be a good candidate for your position as a service representative and look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, James Donaldson Enclosure
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