A cover letter is an excellent way to provide pertinent information that is not available on your resume. However, if the letter only announces your resume and does not add new information, don’t send a cover letter.
A thank-you letter is essential to keeping your options open. Write thank you notes to each person who has interviewed you within 48 hours of the interview. This small detail may make the difference between you and other applicants. A handwritten personal letter is also appropriate.
When writing cover or thank you letters, refer to the examples on the following pages and keep the following tips in mind:
- Be concise — limit the body of your letter to approximately three paragraphs.
- Left justification is recommended over full justification (margins lined up on both sides) because it is easier to read.
- Quantify and qualify whenever feasible.
- Always address your letter to a specific person. If no person is available, address letter as Dear Department + Position. (i.e. Dear Human Resources Director:)
- Center the letter vertically on the page.
- Provide ample margins and white space.
- Avoid starting the letter and every paragraph with the word “I.”
- Use perfect grammar and spelling.
- Have a friend proofread for you.
- Convey a personal warmth that is missing from the resume.
- Use action verbs instead of flowery phrases to describe yourself.
- Emphasize your functional skills.
- Be bold, convincing, and assertive.
- Use bond paper and a laser printer for a professional look.
- Don’t forget to sign the letter!