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Career development guide to cover letters

A cover letter draws an employer's attention to the skills and experience outlined in a resume, expands on information which matches the applicant to the position and highlights special achievements.

Students may schedule an appointment with Career Development to create and proofread a cover letter. Email careerdevelopment@augustana.edu or call 309-794-7339.

A cover letter can directly relate the applicant's experiences to the job duties and requirements in a job description. A well-written cover letter can make a significant difference in successfully arranging an interview or meeting with a potential employer. Be sure the letter gets right to the point. A strong cover letter gets right to the point and differentiates the applicant from other candidates.

A cover letter should contain three basic paragraphs:

1. The applicant introduces himself or herself, and explains why he or she is writing to the company.

2. The applicant explains why he or she is the best fit for the organization and the position.

3. The applicant spells out how he or she will follow up.

Example of a cover letter

Mr. John Anderson
Vice President
Verizon Wireless
Greenville, Ill., 61689

Dear Mr. Anderson:

I am writing to express my sincere interest in entry-level sales opportunities at Verizon Wireless. Currently, I am a senior at Augustana College and will graduate in February 2013 with a bachelor of arts in psychology.

As you will note in my resume, I have strong language skills. My ability to communicate fluently in Spanish would allow me to conduct business easily with many of your international clients. Because I studied abroad for a semester, I am also aware of the cultural differences in Spanish-speaking countries. In addition to my language skills, I also have extensive experience working in fast-paced, dynamic environments. Not only does my current position require that I work with diverse groups of people, but I am also responsible for ensuring a standard level of service, training new advocates, and developing community education programs.

I will contact you in two weeks to confirm receipt of my resume and to discuss the possibility of meeting. I am excited about the opportunities at Verizon Wireless and feel confident that my skills will allow me to make an immediate impact on your organization. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Kristi Jackson
 

Cover letter tips

Use the same header from the resume,

Avoid using "To Whom It May Concern." Always find out the name of the person receiving the letter.

Be aware of using too many sentences in a row that begin with "I." Vary the sentence style.

Instead of simply repeating the resume in the second paragraph, add more specific details about previous experience and/or activities.

Be sure to sign the letter using black ink.

Students may schedule an appointment with a career ambassador and Career Development staff to create and proofread a cover letter. To schedule an appointment, email careerdevelopment@augustana.edu or call 309-794-7339.