Chapter 10-1-3: Cover Letters (when applying for a job)

Introduction

Always include a cover letter, also known as a letter of application, when sending a résumé or CV for a possible job interview.

A cover letter:

  • provides the author with an opportunity to introduce themselves

  • reveals how they learned about the job opening

  • demonstrates why the applicant is the right fit for the position

  • gives the writer an opportunity to ask for an interview

Tone:

  • professional

  • courteous

  • direct

  • confident

Format

Cover letters fall into a category called "business letters." Most business letter formats today use "full block" style. This style aligns all elements toward the left side. The only potential exceptions are the letterhead (the sender's information) and the date, which can be left, centre, or right-justified. Here is some more information about modern business letter format:

Rules

  • Do not indent paragraphs.

  • Leave one empty / blank line between body paragraphs.

  • Leave two empty / blank lines between other blocks.

  • All text blocks are single-spaced.

  • Avoid unprofessional email addresses, abbreviations, and contractions.

  • Choose a professional font that is 10 to 12-point size.

  • Be brief. Do not write too many paragraphs.

  • The letter must not exceed one page.

  • Use the precise address format endorsed by the country's postal service.

  • Sign your paper version letter. If it's electronic, type your name.


Order of Items

  1. Letterhead (sender's information)

  2. Date—it can be aligned with either the letterhead or the recipient blocks

  3. Recipient's address

  4. Subject line (optional)

  5. Opening salutation

  6. Opening / introductory paragraph

  7. Body paragraph(s)

  8. Closing / concluding paragraph

  9. Closing salutation block

  10. Enclosures (optional)

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Carousel: explore options for letterhead and date placement

Useful Phrases

Introduction

  • I am interested in the __________ position advertised in/on _______________.

  • I wish to apply for the post of __________ which you advertised in/on __________.

  • I am writing in response to your advertisement posted in/on __________ for the job of __________.

  • I would like to apply for the position of __________.

  • I am writing to learn about any job openings with your organization in __________.

  • I would like to be considered for the position of __________.


Body Paragraph(s)

  • I am especially interested in this job since __________.

  • I would like to work with your organization, in order to __________.

  • I would like to point out __________.

  • My strengths are __________. // I am skilled in __________. // I have an aptitude for __________.

  • I am well suited to the position because __________.

  • My qualifications / skills appear to be well suited to your organization's needs.

  • My area / field of expertise is __________.

  • During my time as __________, I furthered my knowledge of __________.

  • During my time as __________, I improved my skills at __________.

  • As you can see from my enclosed resume, my experience and qualifications match this position's requirements.


Conclusion

  • I would welcome the opportunity to discuss further details of the position with you personally.

  • I look forward to an opportunity to speak with you in person.

  • I look forward to meeting with you at your earliest convenience.

  • If you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  • I am available for interview on __________.

  • I look forward to the opportunity to personally discuss why I am particularly suited to this position.

  • I would like to thank you for considering me for this position.


Avoid

When writing your letter, avoid repetition. You'll also want to avoid the following phrases:

  • I am a perfectionist.

  • My only weakness is that __________.

  • I am a multi-tasker.

  • I would be interested in learning the pay / salary for this position.

  • I am creative.


Cover Letter Outline

This outline of a cover letter should help you with your paragraph content:


Peyton Quinn

34 Chatley Avenue, Apartment 3A

Quebec City, QC M5B 3B5

(555) 319-2812

pquinn@email.com



October 15, 2030



Jordan Parker

Personnel Manager

Importers Inc.

587 Lilly Road

Rockville, ON M5H 2X3



Dear Mr. Parker,


Opening paragraph - Use one of the following to bring yourself to the attention of the reader and make clear what job you are applying for:


1. Summarize the job opportunity in the first sentence

2. Name the job opportunity and where it was advertised

3. Request a job opportunity

4. Question the availability of a job opportunity

5. If you already know some information about the employer, mention it.


Middle paragraph(s)- Use one of the following in each of your middle paragraphs to provide the reader with plenty of reasons to invite you to an interview:


Education // Relevant qualifications // Work or volunteer experience that is related to the position // Ability to work with others and/or alone // Interest in your field // Why you are interested in the employer or the work they do // Make reference to your enclosed résumé // Responsibilities in previous positions // Examples of relevant skills to the position // Past accomplishments in other positions that resulted in a measurable improvement of some some sort // Why you’re a perfect match for the job // How you can be most useful to the company (this last one companies really want to hear about)


Closing paragraph - Mention your important qualities that separate you from other people competing for the position. Thank the person his / her consideration. Use the closing paragraph to ensure action on the part of the reader. You can ask for an interview appointment time, stating that you will be happy to come to the employer's office when convenient. Make it easy for the reader to follow-up by providing your telephone number and email address.



Sincerely,






Peyton Quinn



Enclosure


Sample Letter


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