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Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences - Careers

Skills - Cover Letter Development

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Individualize Your Letter
Give readers some insight into you as an individual. Draft your letter to show how your individual qualities can contribute to the organization in question. While you are attempting to set yourself apart from the crowd, you need to be aware of the importance of using standard business letter conventions when developing your cover letter. Do not guess at where to put the inside address or how to fashion a correct closing. Seek out a Business Writing class, a cover-letter samplebook, or handouts from the A&S Careers Program to guarantee the correctness of the form. Prospective employers DO pay attention to these things!


Address Your Letter to a Specific Person
Write specifically to the person doing the hiring. Look for this person’s name in company publications that you receive directly from the company, that you find at the A&S Careers Program, at the Career Center, at Bierce or the public library Reference Desk, or at the company’s website. If the name is unavailable in these places, phone the organization to ask for the person’s name or at least the name of the personnel/human relations manager. Include a courtesy title (Dr., Ms., Mr.) and a position title (Director, Manager, etc.).


Catch Your Reader’s Attention
Your introduction should get your reader’s attention, stimulate interest, and be appropriate to the job you are seeking: a reference to an advertisement which prompted your application or a reference to the company's product showing your knowledge of the company are possible beginnings.


State the Desired Position Early
Make your goal clear:
- If answering an ad, name the position stated in the ad and identify the source, as in “ . . . your advertisement for a copywriter, which appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal, April 28, 20xx,. .”

- If prospecting for a job, try to identify the job title used by the organization.

- If a specific position title is not available or if you wish to apply for a line of work which may come under several titles, adapt the professional objective stated in your résumé.


Additionally, in your first paragraph:
You will want to preview the rest of your letter. This tells your reader what to look for and lets him/her know immediately how your qualifications fit the requirements of the job.

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