Monday, May 23, 2016

How to Write a Cover Letter

You've discovered a cool job somehow--online, in an advertisement, through a friend, and now you have your application or resume ready to go.

But, you need to send a cover letter with it. How does that work?

It's just a short letter that will be on top of your other required papers, so it's like a 'cover.' Hence the name 'cover letter.' It is sort of a formality in which you refer to what they'll be seeing in your resume and/or application. You are introducing yourself to the people who will decide who to interview, and ultimately will make the hiring decision.

For the basics of typing any business like letter, see Triogenius of March 8: How to Write a Letter.

The content of a cover letter should be fairly brief, so choose your words carefully. It may make a difference in whether they want to interview you.

It's important to follow the directions as given for submitting your application. Address it as they ask, whether to a specific person or department. If you are sending it to department (often to Human Resources), you can still begin your letter with 'Greetings' or 'Dear Sir or Madame.' It is also acceptable to have no greeting and just begin the body of the letter. You should, however, always date the letter. If they have asked you to FAX your paperwork, then FAX it. Local stores, the library, and particularly office stores will often FAX something for you for a small fee (under $2.00). If they want you to send it via e-mail, do that. Ask for help if you're unsure how that works.
But if you are writing a regular letter on paper, here's what it may look like:

January 33, 1923

Mr. David Hireme
Gravytrain Flying Corp.
90273 Progress Lane
St Paul, MN 55112

Mr. Hireme,

I am enclosing my resume and application for the position of Chief Kitemaker with Gravytrain Flying.

As you will see, I have 30 years of experience in kitemaking. I excel particularly in reading kite blueprints and drawing designs for the kite wings. I previously worked as a kite-flyer as well, so am well-versed in all things kite.

My qualifications make me an excellent candidate for this position. I look forward to scheduling an interview so that we can discuss further details.

Please contact me at: phone 345 244 4222 or you may email me at

Thank you for considering me for this interesting position.


Fred Guppiter, Kitemaker Extraordinaire
345 244 4222

The letter should be printed on a clean sheet of printer paper. You may also consider printing your own letterhead, to make your name stand out when you send your cover letter; here is one source:

Personal letterhead just gives your letter a little more polish and makes your letter stand out from those simply printed on plain white paper. Your letterhead might look something like this:
Or like this:
After a review and using spell-check, try printing it first on ordinary paper to see what it looks like. Are the words centered on the page? If not, go into the document and add some spaces. Is the wording 'efficient' and to the point? It should be polished-looking, business-like, and not 'cute.' You can let your personality shine at the interview and when you actually get hired. For now, you want to put your best foot forward.

Fold the letter and any other papers properly, put them in a business envelope, and address the envelope to the person noted in the advertisement. If there was none, type "Human Resources" or "Hiring Committee" before the company address. You could also write "Attention: Human Resources" to the left of the address.

If there are more than three or four sheets of paper, you might need to add more postage. If in doubt, take it to the Post Office to have it weighed or simply add another stamp before you toss it in the mail box. Make sure you are available when they call to invite you to interview with them.

Good Luck!!!

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