State why you are writing and indicate your knowledge of the employer in the first two or three sentences. When possible, name the position for which you are applying and how you heard of the opening. If you are writing as a result of a personal referral, someone known to the reader, state it in the first sentence. Just make sure that you have that person's permission to use his or her name!
I understand that you have just received a grant from ACW and will be expanding your personnel in the Boston area. I am interested in...
Dr. Nott in the English Department suggested I write to you about an approach to reporting campus news that I used effectively at Old Dominion University. She thought my experience and coursework could be relevant to your organization
An article in Graduating Engineer identified your firm as an innovator in product development. My senior design project on robotics explores the area in which you are expanding. I would like the opportunity to talk with you about our mutual interest in this growing field.
In the body, communicate the ways your skills and experiences can be of value to the employer. You will want to balance your confidence with humility. Highlight prior experience that will make your background come alive. Paint a picture of the type of person they want to hire by describing how your experience relates or is transferable to the employer.
After taking several related courses and visiting alumni in the field. I have decided to pursue a career in labor relations. As described in my resume, I wrote a research report on labor law and have had practical experience mediating conflicts as a Resident Advisor and head of our Conduct Committee. Last year, I was a volunteer with a community mediation agency. Using my leadership abilities, analytical skills, and related background, I would work hard to be an effective member of your staff.
For a recent campus-wide event I designed advertising materials which resulted in a 50% increase in student turnout over the previous year. Through this experience and an internship with a public relations firm, I have developed skills which will be of value in your promotional campaigns.
The enclosed resume highlights my engineering experience in computer-aided design. As one of the few students chosen to work with Dr. Mengele at Old Dominion University, I have incorporated techniques into my design project which... My accomplishments in this area have prepared me to make a strong contribution to your organization.
Always thank the person for their time and indicate the step you will take next. This can include reasserting your interest in the position and arranging for a specific time when you will contact the employer to set up a meeting. Avoid endings which lack assertiveness such as "Please contact me..."
I will be in your area on other business during the week of May 10th. I will call Thursday to see if it's convenient for use to meet.
I would like to meet with you and will call to set up an appointment at your convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you soon.
Requesting an Information Interview
Here, you are introducing yourself to someone with whom you would like to speak regarding their career field, specific position, or organization. You can follow most of the rules of cover letters with the following exceptions:
- You are not asking for a job interview, just a half hour to discuss the career field
- Do not send your resume
Thank You Letters
Saying thanks is only one reason you send a letter after an interview. You can also reiterate your interest in the position and give the employer information that you forgot to mention in the interview.
Send it out as soon after your interview as possible. If you have new information to add, you want the employer to have this information before making a decision.