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THE

COVER
LETTER

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UNIT B:

The Cover Letter

Talk to your partner and answer the following questions:


1.
2.
3.
4.

What do you understand by a cover letter?


What did it include?
Have you ever read or written a cover letter?
What should it include?
Cover Letter

A cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, motivational letter or a letter


of motivation is a letter of introduction attached to, or accompanying
another document such as a rsum or curriculum vitae.

For employment
Job seekers frequently send a cover letter along with their curriculum vitae or
application for employment as a way of introducing themselves to potential
employers and explaining their suitability for the desired position. Employers
may look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as one
method of screening out applicants who are not sufficiently interested in their
position or who lack necessary basic skills. Cover letters are typically divided
into three categories:
- The application letter or invited cover letter which responds to a known
job opening
- The prospecting letter or uninvited cover letter which inquires about
possible positions
- The networking letter which requests information and assistance in the
sender's job search

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Format
Cover letters are generally one page at most in length, divided into a header,
introduction, body, and closing.
Header. Cover letters use standard business letter style, with the sender's
address and other information, the recipient's contact information, and the date
sent after either the sender's or the recipient's address. Following that is an
optional reference section (e.g. "RE: Internship Opportunity at Global
Corporation") and an optional transmission note (e.g. "Via Email to
jobs@example.net"). The final part of the header is a salutation (e.g., "Dear
Hiring Managers").
Introduction. The introduction briefly states the specific position desired, and
should be designed to catch the employer's immediate interest.
Body. The body highlights or amplifies on material in the resume or job
application, and explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and would
be of value to the employer. Also, matters discussed typically
include skills, qualifications, and past experience. If there are any special
things to note such as availability date, they may be included as well.
Closing. A closing sums up the letter and indicates the next step the applicant
expects to take. It may indicate that the applicant intends to contact the
employer, although many favor the more indirect approach of simply saying
that the applicant will look forward to hearing from or speaking with the
employer. After the closing is a valediction (e.g. "Sincerely"), and then a
signature line. Optionally, the abbreviation "ENCL" may be used to indicate
that there are enclosures.

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Other Uses
Resume cover letters may also serve as marketing devices for prospective job
seekers. Cover letters are used in connection with many business documents
such as loan applications (mortgage loan), contract drafts and proposals, and
executed documents. The MIT Sloan School of Management requests a cover
letter as part of their MBA admission application. Cover letters may serve the
purpose of trying to catch the reader's interest or persuade the reader of
something, or they may simply be an inventory or summary of the documents
included along with a discussion of the expected future actions the sender or
recipient will take in connection with the documents.
Of all the different kinds of letters, perhaps none are more important for your
personal career than those letters you write to apply for a job. Your cover
letter (or letter of application) and accompanying resume, if well planned and
written, can do much to help you secure the job of your choice.

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TEMPLATE 1

The following cover letter template lists the information you need to include
in the cover letter you submit with your resume. Use the cover letter template
as a guideline to create customized cover letters to send to employers.
Cover Letter Template
Contact Information
The first section of your cover letter should include information on how the
employer can contact you. If you have contact information for the employer,
include that. Otherwise, just list your information.
Your Contact Information
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Date
Employer Contact Information
Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code
Salutation
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Body of Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are
applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how
you will follow-up.

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First Paragraph:
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are
writing. Mention the position you are applying for. Include the name of a
mutual contact, if you have one. Be clear and concise regarding your request.
Convince the reader that they should grant the interview or appointment you
requested in the first paragraph.
Middle Paragraphs:
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer
the employer. Make strong connections between your abilities and their needs.
Mention specifically how your skills and experience match the job you are
applying for. Remember, you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it.
Try to support each statement you make with a piece of evidence. Use several
shorter paragraphs or bullets rather than one large block of text.
Final Paragraph:
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for
the position. Include information on how you will follow-up. State that you
will do so and indicate when (one week's time is typical). You may want to
reduce the time between sending out your resume and follow up if you fax or
e-mail it.
Complimentary Close:
Respectfully yours,
Signature:
Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)
Typed Signature

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TEMPLATE 2
[date]
[persons name]
[name of company]
[company address]
[company address]
Dear [persons name],
Re: [name of position/vacancy including vacancy number if applicable]
I am writing to apply for the position of [position name] at your company, which was
advertised [in name of newspaper/on name of website etc] on [date].
[In this paragraph, provide background information about yourself and state and why you
are interested in the new position].
I have enclosed my CV to support my application. It shows that I would bring important
skills to the position, including:
[key skill one]
[key skill two]
[Use this space to give the employer more information about how you match the job
theyre advertising. It is also good to show that you have some knowledge of the company
with whom you are seeking employment and the role you a going for; so, do a little
research and include a sentence or two in this paragraph.
I would enjoy having the opportunity to talk with you more about this position, and how I
could use my skills to benefit your organization.
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to hearing from you.
[Can include information about how you will follow up on your application.]
Yours sincerely (when you know the persons name)
Yours faithfully (when you dont know the persons name)
[your name]
Here is an outline to writing a successful cover letter. To the right of the letter, there are
important notes concerning the layout of the letter. These notes are mixed up. Write
numbers from one to seven at the beginning of each note that corresponds to the layout.
Peter Townsled

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35 Green Road 1
Spokane, WA 87954
April 19, 200_

Mr Frank Peterson, Personnel Manager 2


Jeans and Co.
254 Main Street
Seattle, WA 98502

Always make an effort to write directly to the


person in charge of hiring.

Dear Mr. Peterson: 3

.... Begin your cover letter by placing your


address first, followed by the address of the company
you are writing to.

4 I am writing to you in response to your


advertisement for a local branch manager, Opening paragraph - Use this paragraph to
which appeared in the Seattle Times on specify which job you are applying for, or, if you are
Sunday, June 15. As you can see from my writing to inquire whether a job position is open,
enclosed resume, my experience and question the availability of an opening.
qualifications
match
this
position's
requirements.
Use complete title and address; don't
abbreviate.
5 My current position managing the local
branch of a national shoe retailers has Closing paragraph - Use the closing paragraph
provided the opportunity to work in a high- to ensure action on the part of the reader. One
pressure, team environment, where it is possibility is to ask for an interview appointment
essential to be able to work closely with my time. Make it easy for the personnel department to
colleagues in order to meet sales deadlines.
contact you by providing your telephone number and
email address.
In addition to my responsibilities as manager,
I also developed time management tools for Middle paragraph(s) - This section should be
staff using Access and Excel from Microsoft's used to highlight your work experience which most
Office Suite.
closely matches the desired job requirements
presented in the job opening advertisement. Do not
6Thank you for your time and consideration. I simply restate what is contained in your resume.
look forward to the opportunity to personally Notice how the example makes a special effort to
discuss why I am particularly suited to this show why the writer is especially suited to the job
position. Please telephone me at (360) 352- position opening posted above.
0259 after 4.00 p.m. to suggest a time that we
may meet. I can also be reached by email at . Always sign letters. "enclosure" indicates that
petert@net.com
you are enclosing your resume.
Sincerely,
Peter Townsled 7
Enclosure

Facts to be included in your cover letter

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Before you can write your resume or prepare a cover letter, you must do some
thinking about yourself, for your employment correspondence must present a
prospective employer with a favorable and desirable- picture of your
personality, background, and experiences.
A good way to start is to make a list. In any order, as you think of them, jot
down such facts as:
Jobs you have held
Schools you have gone to.
Areas you have majored in.
Special courses you have taken.
Extracurricular activities you have joined in.
Memberships you have held.
Awards or honors you have received.
Athletics you enjoy.
Languages you speak.
Special interests you have.
Special skills you have.
Exercise: Make your own list of the facts that could help an employer
see your value as an employee.
Important Facts for my Resume
01.
02.
03.
04.
05.
06.
07.
08.
09.
10.

____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

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Six Secrets to Writing a Great Cover
Letter

At best, a cover letter can help A job-seeker stand out from the pack. At worst,
it can make a promising candidate seem like an uncreative cut-and-paster.
Sadly, the vast majority of cover letters read essentially the same: Retreads of
resumes that ramble on while repeating the obvious. Would you read one of
these to the end if it were put in front of you? Probably not, and nor would
most hiring managers.
Of course, the Internet is full of tips and tutorials on writing a cover letter, but
few of them give much useful information other than the obvious (Use good
grammar!). So I got to thinking about what cover letter tips and techniques
have served me over the years. I came up with these six golden rules for
writing a cover letter somebody will actually want to read.
1)
Dont repeat your resume
A lot of people write cover letters as if they were paragraph-form resumes.
Fact is, your letter will be stapled (or attached to the same email) as your
actual resume, so you can assume that theyll at least glance at it (and
probably with a keener eye than your cover letter). Instead, use your cover
letter to show personality, curiosity, and an interest in the field you are
applying to work in. My favorite pro tip: Google around for the history of
your field or company, and sprinkle some cool historical facts into your cover
letter (or even use one as a lead). If I was applying for a job in tech, I might
talk about how thrilling it was to see Moores law transform technology before
my eyes, and how thrilled I am to be a part of this transformation. If I were
applying for a job in fashion, I might talk about how much fashion has
changed since the 80s (a lot!). Everything has a hidden history. Use it to show
expertise and interest.
2) Keep it short
Less. Is. More. Three paragraphs, tops. Half a page, tops. Skip lengthy
exposition and jump right into something juicy.
3) Address Nobody
Sometimes, you dont know exactly who you should be addressing your letter
to. Avoid Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom It May Concern. If you
absolutely dont know who you should be addressing, then dont address
anybody. Instead, just jump right into the body of the letter.
4) Send it as a PDF

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Not every office computer can read .docx or .pages files, but virtually
everybody can open a PDF file without any conversion. File conversions are
bad for two huge reasons. First, they are just as likely to not bother and move
onto the next applicant. And, second, conversions can introduce formatting
errors. Both are bad. (Note: This story originally suggested .doc files.
Definitely better than .docx, but, as the comments pointed out, PDF is surely
better. It cant be easily tampered with, and you have more control over how it
appears on somebodys screen.)
5) Never ever, ever use the following phrase
My name is ___, and I am applying for the position as ____. They already
know this, and youll sound inexperienced.
6) Close strong
Finish off by quickly (and I mean quickly) explaining how your experience or
worldview will help you at the job. Thats key. Thats the closer. And it can be
done in one to two seconds. If it goes any longer, youre just rambling.

Now, its time to write your own cover letter to apply for a job at Price
Waterhouse/ Escondida Mining Company/ Bank Boston/ or another of your
choice.

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APPENDIX 2

10 RESUME WRITING TIPS

Your covering letter is an important document - a key part of your application


to a prospective employer. It is surprising that jobseekers often pay scant
attention to it. Many candidates fail even to write one and only submit their
CV or application form. Craft a strong covering letter and your application
could really stand out from the crowd. So if it's of such importance you'll need
to know how to produce the perfect covering letter. That's where we step in.
1. Always send one!
2. Don't rewrite your CV
3. First paragraph and last line
4. Talk about the company
5. Provide quality evidence of your qualities
6. Reflect your personality
7. Relevant and brief
8. Contact details
9. Sign the letter
10. Neatness/ presentation
1. Always send one!
The covering letter's job is actually two fold. At its basic level, the standard
one-page covering letter performs a simple courtesy function. It is a socially
acceptable way of introducing you and explaining which vacancy you're
applying for or which area you are enquiring about. It also provides the
recruiter with a handy list of your contact details.
2. Don't rewrite your CV
It should provide edited, juicy highlights from your CV. But it should not
merely repeat what the CV includes but rather distils the key themes into one
place.
3. First Paragraph and last line
Don't waffle in your first paragraph, make the reason you're writing clear and
sell yourself; writing what makes you better than others straight off. Finish
with a call to action, request they contact you for a meeting or interview and
let them know you will be in touch to discuss.

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4. Talk about the company


Do some research into the company/ organisation and include information
about them. Specifically tell them what you are impressed with and what
attracts you to them.
5. Provide quality evidence of your qualities
Pick out the top 3 or 5 (max) qualities the employer is seeking in their advert
or job specification if there is one. These should be qualities that you have
already covered in your CV.
And they should be the 3 to 5 things that you refer to - not explain - briefly in
your covering letter. Provide concrete examples and solid numbers wherever
you can. For example, after you've introduced yourself in your letter you could
include lines similar to these:
"You will see from my enclosed CV that I match your requirements precisely. I
have worked in the Web industry for over 10 years and have led a number of
development teams that have ranged in size from 5 to 20 people."
Or
"You will see from my CV that I have worked in both
the USA and Canada and have worked in senior positions on aerospace
contracts ranging from 15m to 180m"
Your covering letter then is an additional 'sales' document...selling you
6. Reflect your personality
Ensure the letter shows how motivated and enthusiastic you are. Do not
include negative comments. Try to use dynamic acting verbs for each skill you
are explaining, such as:
Research - Analysed, clarified
People skills - Collaborated, communicated
Teaching - Instilled, motivated
7. Relevant and brief
A well written letter should draw the recruiter's eye to relevant experience on
your CV. It is a, admittedly brief, space in which you draw a positive penpicture of you in the mind of the employer. Ensure it is never more than a
page long.

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8. Contact details
Where ever possible send your letter and CV to a named individual,
particularly if it is more of an enquiry than a specific role application.
Research using websites, ask friends and colleagues if they know of anyone or
ring through to reception and get yourself a name and job title. It will look a
lot better than sir/ madam.
9. Sign the letter
Unless you've had to sign an application form, your covering letter is the only
place where you provide your signature. This may seem old fashioned in this
digital age but it's still a strong signal of your authenticity.
10. Neatness/ presentation
Finally, make sure your covering letter is clearly laid out with no typos or
spelling errors. Do this and, compared to many jobseekers, you'll already stand
out as an impressive candidate!

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APPENDIX 3

TEN COVER LETTER DONTS

Mistake #1: Overusing "I"


Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you
meet an employer's needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of
being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word "I," especially at the
beginning of your sentences.
Mistake #2: Using a Weak Opening
When writing a cover letter, job seekers frequently struggle with how to begin.
This often results in a feeble introduction lacking punch and failing to grab the
reader's interest. Consider this example:
Weak: Please consider me for your sales representative opening.
Better: Your need for a top-performing sales representative is an
excellent match to my three-year history as a #1-ranked, multimilliondollar producer.
Mistake #3: Omitting Your Top Selling Points
A cover letter is a sales letter that sells you as a candidate. Just like the
resume, it should be compelling and give the main reasons you should be
called for an interview. Winning cover letter tips include emphasizing your
top accomplishments or creating subheadings culled from the job posting. For
example:
Your Ad Specifies: Communication skills
I Offer: Five years of public speaking experience and an extensive
background in executive-level report.
Your Ad Specifies: The need for a strong computer background.
I Offer: Proficiency in all MS Office applications with additional expertise in
Web site development and design.
Mistake #4: Making It Too Long

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4

If your cover letter exceeds one page, you may be putting readers to sleep. A
great cover letter is concise but compelling, and respects the reader's time.
Mistake #5: Repeating Your Resume Word for Word
Your cover letter shouldn't regurgitate what's on your resume. Reword your
cover letter statements to avoid dulling your resume's impact. Consider using
the letter to tell a brief story, such as "My Toughest Sale" or "My Biggest
Technical Challenge."
Mistake #6: Being Vague
If you're replying to an advertised opening, reference the specific job title in
your cover letter. The person reading your letter may be reviewing hundreds
of letters for dozens of different jobs. Make sure all the content in your letter
supports how you will meet the employer's specific needs.
Mistake #7: Forgetting to Customize
If you're applying to a number of similar positions, chances are you're
tweaking one letter and using it for multiple openings. That's fine, as long as
you customize each letter. Don't forget to update the company, job and contact
information -- if Mr. Jones is addressed as Mrs. Smith, he won't be impressed.
Mistake #8: Ending on a Passive Note
When possible, put your future in your own hands with a promise to follow
up. Instead of asking readers to call you, try a statement like this: I will follow
up with you in a few days to answer any preliminary questions you may have.
In the meantime, you may reach me at (555) 555-5555.
Mistake #9: Being Rude
Your cover letter should thank the reader for his time and consideration.
Mistake #10: Forgetting to Sign the Letter
It is proper business etiquette (and shows attention to detail) to sign your
letter. However, if you are sending your cover letter and resume via email or
the Web, a signature isn't necessary.

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