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Cover Letter Tips

Job Search Letters

Your job search requires many types of correspondence.  With each letter you send, an employer is evaluating you as a prospective candidate for his or her organization.  For this reason, you will want to make your letters as effective as possible and be sure they are free from spelling and grammatical errors.

Listed below are suggestions for what should be included in the different types of job search correspondence.

Cover Letters

A cover letter should always accompany your resume.  Use it to introduce yourself formally to the reader and to outline specific qualifications as they relate to a particular position. The intent of the cover letter is to get the employer to read your resume.

First Paragraph

State your purpose for writing, the position for which you are applying and how you heard of it (i.e. newspaper, friend, advertisement). This is where you should mention your knowledge of the employer through the research you have done.

Second Paragraph

This is where you want to MARKET your qualifications for the position.  Be sure to read the advertisement or job description for related skills.  Refer to related experience and educational background mentioned in your resume and how it qualifies you as good candidate for the position.  Remember, this is where you want to sell them on your skills and abilities and how they can benefit their organization.  Sell, sell, sell!

Third Paragraph

Now you want to suggest an action plan.  Let the employer know when and how you will contact him or her. Also, be sure to give a phone number where you can be reached.  If you plan to be out of town, be sure to give dates of when you would be back to arrange an interview time.  Be assertive!

Prospect Letters

Used to inquire about job openings that may be available within a particular organization.

First Paragraph

This is where you want to inquire about employment opportunities and specifically about your interest area.  Tell how you found out about the organization (i.e. employer, friend, etc.) and why you would be interested in working for them.

Second Paragraph

This is the opportunity to outline your specific skills and abilities and how they can benefit the employer.  Draw reference to your education background and the related experience described on your resume.  Tell why you are an ideal candidate for a position that may become available.

Third Paragraph

Focus on future contact. Refer to your enclosed resume and tell the reader you will contact him or her at a certain date to discuss employment possibilities.

Last Paragraph

Close with a thank you to the reader for his or her time and consideration.

Networking Letters

Used to make contact with an acquaintance or specific person who may be able to assist you in the job search.

First paragraph

Introduce yourself and tell the reader how the two of you are connected (i.e. fellow alumnus, mutual friend).

Second paragraph

State the purpose of your letter.  Briefly explain your situation (i.e. recently graduated, looking for employment with a specific company or career field).

Third paragraph

Request a meeting at a mutually agreeable time or state that you will contact him or her within a certain time frame.

Last paragraph

Thank the reader in advance for any assistance they may be able to provide.

Thank You Letters

Used to express appreciation and interest after an interview or any other type of particular assistance. May be word-processed or hand-written. It should be addressed to the person who interviewed you. If more than one person interviewed you, send a letter to each person.  Remember, this correspondence leaves a good impression and may even set you apart form the other candidates.

First paragraph

State your appreciation.

Second paragraph

Re-emphasize your strongest qualifications and match them up in relation to the job.

Third paragraph

Reiterate your interest in the position and provide any supplemental information not previously given.

Final paragraph

Restate your appreciation.

Acceptance Letters

Used to accept a job offer.

First paragraph

Confirm, accept and reaffirm your decision to accept the position.

Second paragraph

Confirm the benefits and logistics, including start date and time.

Last paragraph

Express your Appreciation for the opportunity.

Decline Letters

Used to decline a job offer.  Decline letters should be sent as a matter of courtesy. It leaves a good impression with the company.

In three paragraphs

Acknowledge the offer, show thoughtful consideration and express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the company.

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