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Cover Letters

From: Resume Catalog: 200 Damn Good Examples, 1996 edition

Your resume should always have a good COVER LETTER attached, as a personal communication between you and the individual who receives the resume.
Many job hunters are intimidated by the task of writing a cover letter, but it's not that hard if you think of it as just a friendly, simple communication from one person (who's looking for a good job) to another (who's looking for a good employee). It is in the interests of both parties to make a good connection!

How To Write a Good Cover Letter


1. Be sure to address your cover letter --by name and title -- to the person who could actually hire you. When it's impossible to learn their name, use their functional title, such as "Dear Manager." You may have to guess ("Dear Selection Committee") but never say "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam"!
2. Show that you know a little about the company, and that you are aware of their current problems, interests, or priorities.
3. Express your enthusiasm and interest in this line of work and this company. If you have a good idea that might help the employer resolve a problem currently facing their industry, offer to come in and discuss it.
4. Project warmth and friendliness, while still being professional. Avoid any generic phrases such as "Enclosed please find." This is a letter to a real live person!
5. Make a personal link to a specific individual in that company, if at all possible -- also called "name dropping." For example, "My neighbor, Phil Lyons, works in your research-and-development department, and from what he tells me about the company and its current directions, I think I could be a good fit for your team."
6. Set yourself apart from the crowd. Identify at least one thing about you that's unique -- say a special talent for getting along with everybody at work, or some unusual skill that goes beyond the essential requirements of the position -- something that distinguishes you AND is relevant to the job. (Then, if several others are equally qualified for the job, your uniqueness may be the reason to choose YOU.)
7. Be specific about what you are asking for and what you are offering. Make it clear which position you're applying for and just what experience or skill you have that relates to that position.
8. Take the initiative about the next step whenever possible, and be specific. "I'll call your office early next week to see if we could meet soon and discuss this job opening," for example. OR -- if you're exploring for UN-announced jobs that my come up -- "I'll call your office next week to see if we could meet soon, to discuss your company's needs for help in the near future."
9. Keep it brief -- a few short paragraphs, all on one page.

Here (below) is one Cover Letter Example that appears in Resume Catalog.


578 Willow Drive
Willow Creek, CA 12345
(510) 555-4567

Marilyn Schneider
Advertising Director, KARAN
9000 Diving Lane
San Francisco, CA 12345
Dear Ms. Schneider,
I recently visited the KARAN offices in San Francisco and was immediately impressed by your positive and aesthetic environment of creativity. I especially connected with the inspirational messages mounted on the walls. Since then I have read many articles about KARAN and have talked to several people about the company, including Jean Livingston in the International Dept. I am very impressed with your current ad campaign and its strong impact of color, simplicity, personality, and energy.
From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to support the KARAN movement, to be a dedicated and integral part of the company. I believe very strongly in the KARAN commitment to individual style, fitness, fun, and originality.
I have many skills and experiences gained from my years of work in design, retail and wholesale, and management, as outlined in my resume. I have a good color sense, an eye for coordinating fabrics, fashions, and accessories -- and a playful attitude. I'm a resourceful investigator, creative problem solver, and a strong motivator. I like to research new trends, analyze information, and discover new inspiration. I believe my experience and enthusiasm will make me a valuable team member helping KARAN continue to grow and inspire.
I would like to talk to you in person and discuss where my skills would benefit you the most. I'll call your office toward the end of the week in hopes we could arrange a convenient time to meet. If you wish to contact me before then, I am at (510) 987-6543.
          Joyce Stroebeck

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