A professionally written cover letter uses a basic font such as Times New Roman in a formal tone that is not stiff. You should use a standard letter format, and the cover letter should expound on what the employer is reading in the resume. The cover letter is your chance to explain things to your potential employer, so it should be customized to each employer you send your resume to.
What Examples Should Tell You
Any example you find, whether on a website or written in hard copy, shows you how to format a cover letter for a specific situation. When sending out cover letters, you may have to submit them through mail, fax or email, and formats change depending on the medium. There is also a difference between the style of solicited (job openings found through advertisements or word of mouth) and unsolicited (sending an inquiry to a company that may have job openings) cover letters. In a solicited cover letter, you are writing to address specific job requirements, while in an unsolicited cover letter you are writing to convey interest in the organization as a whole.
Internet Sources for Examples
The Internet can be a treasure trove of sources. Besides websites developed solely to give resume and cover letter advice, individuals sometimes post their resumes and cover letters on websites for the perusal of interested employers. You can also check out the websites for college and university career centers, or look for professional career service agencies. Read over the samples carefully. Do they sound professional enough? Keep in mind that the cover letters on career service and advice websites are chosen for their effectiveness. Personal websites, however, can be good lessons in what not to do.
Go into a book retailer (especially a chain store) or a library and you will find shelves of books on career search advice. The majority will probably contain chapters on cover letters that give examples.
Your area may offer an employment office run by your local or state government that will probably have a career library. You can also check out college textbooks (technical and business writing textbooks are especially helpful). A lot of academic departments offer courses on job searching within the major, which may be helpful if you can find one in your field.
- Career Services at Virginia Tech
- Great Jobs for English Majors; Julie DeGalan and Stephen Lambert; 2000
- Technical Communication; John M. Lannon; 2008.
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