Cover Letter Writing Tips:

When applying for a job, a cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume. An effective cover letter should explain the reasons for your interest in the organization and in the job you are applying for. Make sure that your letter explains how your skills relate to the criteria listed in the job posting.

If you are not sure what to write, review the cover letter samples that are provided for you in this package. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experience to those noted in the job posting. Your cover letter is your first (and best) chance to make a good impression!

Research The Company Before You Write

The more you know about what the employer does, what kind of person they are looking for and how you can contribute to meeting their needs, the more compelling and direct your letter can be. Do your research; review company web sites, brochures, sales flyers and other promotional materials to gather all the relevant information you can. If possible, speak with current employees to get the inside scoop. Search newspaper archives, public libraries and career-center resources. Do a keyword search using the company name and see what turns up on the internet.

Highlight Your Applicable & Unique Selling Points

With the knowledge that you have about the employer, how would you help achieve organizational goals? Set yourself apart: If there are 100 other applicants vying for the same position, why should the hiring manager take a chance on you? Write a list of the top five reasons why you're an excellent candidate.

Cover Letter Recipe:

Heading/Date/Inside Address : If you are writing a traditional (not e-mail) letter, select a standard business-letter format such as block style. Your letter's design should match your resume (See example below).

Salutation : It's best to address your letter to a specific person (e.g., "Dear Ms. Jones: "), but use “Dear Hiring Manager,” if there's no way to find that out. Use “Dear Search Committee:" if the decision will be made by committee. Avoid stale salutations such as "Dear Sir/Madam:" and “To Whom it May Concern :. ”

Opening Paragraph : Hiring managers are busy, your opening paragraph should clearly state the position for which you're applying. Include a reference code if requested and the referral source (e.g., recommendation from a current employee, Newspaper, etc.). Your opening may also include a synopsis of why you are a top candidate for the position:

Your position advertised in the Observer on November 18 th ,2005 is an excellent fit with my qualifications, as the enclosed resume will attest. My background includes 10 years as a successful millwright. I offer particular expertise in the ______ sector, with in-depth knowledge of ________.

Body : Your letter's body contains your sales pitch. This is your chance to outline the top reasons why you are a worthy candidate for an interview. When writing the body text, keep in mind that hiring managers want to know what you can do for them, not learn about your life story. Demonstrate how your credentials, motivation and track record would benefit their operation. Review your top five selling factors (the ones you jotted down when doing your company research) and put them into the body; as a bulleted list maybe.

Back up achievements with specific examples of how your performance benefited current and former employers. Precede your bulleted list with a statement such as “Highlights of my credentials include:” or “Key strengths I offer include…
Keep your letter positive and upbeat. Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes -- would you call yourself in for an interview?
Closing Paragraph : Your final paragraph should generate a call for action, so express your strong interest in an interview and state that you will follow up soon to confirm your resume was received and discuss the possibility of meeting face-to-face.

Complimentary Close and Your Name : End with a professional close such as “Best regards,” “Sincerely” or “Respectfully yours.”


Cover Letter Template:

<Your Name >
<Your Address >
<Your City, Province, Zip Code >
<Your Phone Number >
<Your Email Address >

<Date>

Employer Contact Information

<Name>
<Title>
<Organization>
<Address>
<City, Province, 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.

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 or reference number for the job. Be clear and concise regarding your request.

Middle Paragraphs: The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer . Convince the reader that they should grant the interview or appointment you requested in the first paragraph. 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 summarizing 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,

<Handwritten Signature(for a mailed or faxed letter)>

<Typed Signature >