Cover Letter

Write a cover letter (see pp. 425-31) to accompany the résumé from the “Résumé” assignment. Remember to analyze your audience–what are they looking for your cover letter to contain? (If available, use the details listed in the job announcement as a guide.) The letter should:

apply for the job: be specific, cite a job number or indicate how you learned of the job opening
personalize: mention a mutual acquaintance, indicate that you know something about the company and/or job, indicate you want to work for them rather than someone else
match your described job skills to parallel parts of your résumé
ask for an interview

Also, be sure to avoid the following:

Sounding like a used car salesperson. While you are “selling” yourself, try not to come across as a pitchman for the home shopping network. (Examples: “I am the candidate you have always dreamed of.” “I am the perfect candidate for this position.”)
Pointing out your own weaknesses. Never, NEVER, apologize for not having experience, training, or anything else in a cover letter. You want to come across as confident, but willing and eager to learn.
Typos. Typos in a cover letter will get it thrown in the trash–proofread carefully.
Don’t be too pushy/arrogant. I would advise against informing a prospective employer that you will call them to set up an interview.

Here are examples of text you could insert into your introduction and conclusion paragraphs. You may use this exact wording if you like it.


I am confident I would be an excellent choice for the position of _______. I believe my education and work experience have prepared me to succeed in carrying out the _______, _______, and _______ duties of the position as listed in the job announcement.


I ask you to please contact my references regarding my intelligence, work ethic, and personality. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications in more detail than a cover letter and résumé can articulate, and would like very much to learn more about the _______ position.

Thank you for your consideration.