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Cover Letter Basics
Your cover letter is just as important as your resume. Check out this guide to accomplishing your cover letter objectives.
Some people might be tempted to use a form letter. Don't. It's okay to use a template as long as you tailor it to each position and each company.
This may seem like a lot to ask from one sheet of paper, but
we'll show you how it's done. The basic outline:
Mr./Ms. A. Recipient
Dear Mr./Ms. Recipient:
Introduce yourself. The lead sentence should state the position you are pursuing (you can describe what you are looking for in general terms if this is an unsolicited letter). Also mention how you heard of the position or the company.
Objective one: Highlight the most relevant skills and experience from your resume with more detail. Explain how these qualifications will enable you to do this job better than anyone else.
Objective two: A potential employer will be keyed up about you if he can sense your enthusiasm for the company. Explain why you are interested in the job, and convey your awareness of what the company does to show that you have done careful research already.
Objective three: Here's where you set yourself up for an interview. Establish when you will contact the person next, or make yourself available to them. You could say, "I would like to learn more about working as a financial analyst at KeyCorp. You can reach me at [phone number and/or email]. I look forward to hearing from you soon."
A couple more pointers:
Now take a look at a complete sample.
Ms. Amy McKenna
I am writing to you in regard to a Marketing Assistant position at General Mills. I recently spoke with Ann Panagopolos, the Brand Manager in your Minneapolis office. She was very positive about employment opportunities at GM and felt that my background makes me a good candidate for your Marketing Assistant position.
I am currently a senior at New York University and will receive my bachelor's degree in Marketing in June 1999. As you can see from the enclosed resume, I have an interest in marketing that dates back several years. During the summers of 1997 and 1998, I interned in the marketing departments at Tom's of Maine and Procter & Gamble. As a research assistant in NYU's Marketing department, I am performing spreadsheet analysis for a project on marketing strategies in third-world countries. The quantitative skills I am developing at this job will, I believe, give me an extra edge as a first-year Marketing Assistant.
Since studying your company's groundbreaking discounting strategy in a Consumer Behavior class last spring, I have followed General Mills with interest. The firm's ability to remain at the top of the competitive cereal market while maintaining a reputation for excellent employee relations is very impressive, and I am eager to bring my enthusiasm and ideas on board as a Marketing Assistant.
Thank you for your consideration. I will follow up with a phone call early next week to arrange a meeting with a General Mills representative.
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