Career Prep: Crafting Your Cover Letter


This is one in an ongoing series of articles to help college seniors prepare themselves for their careers.

cover letterThe last time that we discussed career preparation, we took a look at the components of creating a successful resume. Although having a well written and accurate resume is essential, it won’t do much for you without a cover letter. A personalized cover letter with a resume attached and sent to the right person is much better procedure than a resume sent out all by itself.

Sending off a generic cover letter is a mistake, however. You’ll want to personalize your cover letters to include your contact’s name and title in addition to remembering some other important points. Please read on for an overview of creating a cover letter that will help you get noticed.

Like your resume, your cover letter should have your personal information on top of the paper. I like to match up the header on my cover letter to look like the header on my resume.  Same information, same font size and style, and the same grade of paper used (bond, for example).

In order, you’ll want to list the following information:

  • Today’s date.
  • Contact name and title followed by company mailing address.
  • Re: tell your reader what your letter is about.  For example, Regional Sales Manager opportunity.
  • Dear Person’s Name.  You should find out as much information about the person who should receive your resume. Mail it to the person who is hiring for the position directly. Otherwise addressing your cover letter to Ladies and Gentlemen is sufficient.
  • In the body of your letter, you’ll want to tell the person what position you are applying for, highlight the skills you will bring to the job, mention that your resume is attached, and ask for an interview; 3-5 brief sentences and you’re done.
  • End your letter with Sincerely, followed by your name.

If emailing your cover letter, send it directly to the contact person’s email address. It is okay to include your cover letter within the body of the message; your resume can be attached unless specified otherwise.

If sending your information off via postal mail, neatly tri-fold the cover letter and your resume add put them in an envelope that matches your cover letter and resume. Include your return address and make sure that the contact person’s address matches the information on your cover letter.

That’s it! You now have a cover letter that has all of the components needed to explain to the person doing the hiring what position you are looking for and more. If you don’t hear from the recruiter withing 7-10 days, follow up your work with a phone call. Show persistence and you’ll set yourself apart from the pack.


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Categories: Career Planning