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How to Develop a Cover Letter

Cover Letters

Cover Letters are used to tell a potential employer what the purpose of your correspondence. Employers can often make an assessment of your organizational skills and attention to detail simply by observing the appearance of it.

Length of the Cover Letter

Four short paragraphs on one page is the ideal length for a cover letter. A longer letter is unlikely to be read.

Paper Size

Use 8 ½” X 11” papers for your cover letter. Paper other than the standard size will be lost in an employer’s files if it is too small or discarded for not fitting with other documents if too large.

Paper Colour

White or Ivory is the only acceptable paper colours for a cover letter.

Paper Quality

As with resumes, standard white paper that is inexpensive is acceptable. You may want to consider more expensive paper for executive or higher level positions.

Typing and Printing

Use a word processor on a computer with a letter quality printer. Do not handwrite them unless you are instructed to do so.

The Envelope

Your cover letter along with your resume should be mailed or delivered in a standard size envelope. You might consider not handwriting the address on the envelope unless you have neat handwriting.

Ten Key Ingredients to successful Cover Letters

Certain basic guidelines should be followed when composing the actual contents of your letter.

1. Return address. Your return address should appear in the top right hand corner without your name. As a general rule, you should avoid abbreviations in the addresses of you cover letter, although abbreviating the province in become common practice.

2. The date. The date should appear two lines beneath your return address on the right hand side of the page. Write out the date, do not use abbreviated format.

3. The Addressee. Always include the person’s names, their title and the address of their place of business.

4. The saluation. It should be two lines after the address. It should begin with “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Ms.”. If you do not know the hiring, use a general salutation, ATTENTION: Hiring Committee.

5. First paragraph. State immediately and concisely which position you wish to be considered for and what make you the best candidate for the position. If you are responding to a classified ad, be sure to include which publication.

Example: “Please accept the enclosed resume for the Management Trainee, advertised in the Chronicle Journal on Date, Month, and Year. With extensive training in the management, I am confident that I would make an ideal candidate for the position.”

6. Second paragraph. Describe you interest in the company. Subtly emphasize your knowledge about this company and familiarity of the industry. You should also include your skills and how they will be benefit from your skills.

Example: “I am confident that I have acquired the necessary skills that are required for the position and with your company’s excellent reputation in providing quality services...”

7. Third paragraph. Describe your interested in the company. Subtly emphasize your knowledge about the company and your familiarity with the industry. Always present yourself as eager to work when you apply for the job.

Example: “I am particularly interested in working with your organization because I have had many years of experience in sales, as well as with your commitment on training your employees with excellent quality service, I will...”

8. Final paragraph. In the closing paragraph, specify where you may be reached for an interview. Include phone number and the hours you can be reached, or mention that you will follow up with a phone call with several days to arrange for an interview at a mutually convenient time.

9. The closing. Keep it simple “Sincerely” is sufficient. Sign above your typed name.

10. The enclosure line. If you going to include your resume or other information with your letter. Example: Enc. resume