The letter of application, or cover letter, should accompany every resume you mail to prospective employers. A good letter introduces you to the employer, briefly states the purpose of communication, highlights pertinent information from your resume, and suggests a meeting or interview. It should not reiterate everything in the resume, but should complement and expand upon the resume and support a position as to why the applicant should be considered further. Remember that the main purpose of a cover letter is to get the reader interested enough in you to want to read your resume.
In the cover letter, remember to do the following
- Type it neatly on 8 1/2" x 11" bond paper to match your resume. Keep it clean and free of errors.
- Keep it brief (no more than four paragraphs). Cut to the chase - don't ramble.
- Never send a form letter. Each letter should be individually composed.
- Always address your letter to a specific person, and with his/her appropriate title.
- Talk about what you can do for them, and then take the initiative when closing by asking for an interview.
- Use your own style of writing.
- Use correct sentence structure and grammar.
- Always send an original and not a carbon copy; however, once a good letter has been developed, it may be used as a model many times with slight revisions.
- Avoid "I-itis"-excessive use of "I," "my," and "me"; blend the letter and the resume.
- Keep a copy of all correspondence sent for your own records. You'll be amazed how helpful this can be.
- When you complete a rough draft of your letter, show it to a career counselor, professor, experienced professional, or a friend for some helpful feedback.