Cover letters serve as a bridge between your resume and the specific job to which you are applying. Therefore, there isn’t a “one size fits all” cover letter. A cover letter is also a reflection of your writing skills, so take time and care to proofread and review your document. It needs to be specific to the organization and position you are applying for - a generic cover letter will not help you.
You Should Send a Cover Letter When:
- Applying through Go IRISH or any other Job/Internship Search Engine, and the employer has requested it
- Responding to a job posting via direct mail or email
- Sending in a response to a referral from a friend or acquaintance
Your Cover Letter Should Be:
- Formal, polished, and grammatically correct
- Precise, concise, cordial, and confident
- Written in the active voice
- Varied in sentence structure—don’t begin all sentences with “I”
- Printed on the same type of paper as your resume
- Targeted to the needs of the company and requirements of the position
- A way of connecting the job description with your resume and skills
Cover Letters Should be Addressed to a Specific Person
If you do not have a contact name:
- Investigate the company website and other online resources for contacts and addresses
- Call the company and request the name of the person responsible for hiring college graduates in your career area
- If all efforts fail—indicate a specific job title, such as Director of Public Relations and use a proper salutation
- Your cover letter should not be a repetition of the wording on your resume
- The font and formatting of your cover letter should match the font and style of your resume
- When sending a resume via email, you may follow the cover letter format to introduce your attached resume and put the cover letter into the body of the email (formal adderss and date format not necessary)
- The subject line for cover letters sent via email should have the position/job title and your full name
- Use the term “Enclosure” or “Enclosures” only if you are sending hard copies of your documents. The term "attached" should be used for emailed documents.
The First Paragraph – “Why Them?”
- States WHY you are writing
- Responding to an advertised opening
- Inquiring about a possible opening
- States WHY you are applying to, or are interested in, this employer
- Company’s training program,
- Company’s product or service
- Demonstrate your company research
- Mention your contact/referral if you have one
The Second Paragraph – “Why You?”
- States WHAT qualifications YOU bring to the position
- Highlights two or three experiences or academic achievements that directly relate to the qualifications the employer is seeking
- Proves through examples of experiences and activities that you have key skills for the position—i.e. hard-work, communication, problem-solving ability, and analytical skills
- May close with a summary sentence of your qualifications and a confident statement that you can make a contribution to the organization
The Third Paragraph – “Next Steps”
- States WHAT you WANT—an interview or an opportunity to further discuss your qualifications and any employment opportunities the employer may have
- May reference your enclosed or attached resume
- Thanks the person and indicates that you look forward to speaking to or meeting with him/her, but indicates flexibility as to time and place
- Can state that you will call the contact person at a certain time/day to discuss scheduling a meeting or an interview
Jessie B. Fairbanks
15 Oakwood Drive / Toronto, ON M0M 0M0 / 555-555-5555
March 25, 2009
Dear Mr. Jones:
In regard to the open cook position you have posted on Monster, I am very interested in the opportunity. Perhaps after reading this letter and enclosed resume, you will agree we have a mutually beneficial reason to meet. My credentials include:
- 12+ years of cooking experience in a hotel setting.
- A track record of increasing clientele by preparing top-quality meals and maintaining high standards of excellence.
- Respected leadership skills with experience training and motivating kitchen staff to work together as a team.
- Expertise in menu planning and food/supplies ordering.
- An uncompromising emphasis on quality, sanitation, waste reduction, and cost savings.
ABC Hotel's mission and commitment to serving customers and the community is one that I share wholeheartedly. As a cook for Action Resort, I maintained an excellent performance record (using only two sick days throughout my 12-year tenure with the company) and earned a reputation for dedication, teamwork, and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic.
The cook position sounds like an outstanding opportunity, and I would welcome the chance for an interview to discuss your needs and outline my strengths in person. You may reach me at 555-555-5555. Thank you for your time and consideration of my resume, and I look forward to speaking with you.
Jessie B. Fairbanks