CAREER Career Resource RESOURCE CENTER Center COVER LETTER GUIDE Prepared for School of Management students by: The Frank L. Ciminelli Family Career Resource Center 308 Alfiero Center (716) 645-3232 mgt.buffalo.edu/career PERSONALIZE EACH LETTER Address each letter to an individual, get a name! Place emphasis on skills needed/requested for each particular job opportunity Always avoid form letters Focus on the Reader Use "You" vs. "I" Place emphasis on the contributions you can make, not how you would benefit from the position. THREE TYPES OF RÉSUMÉ COVER LETTERS: 1. "Cold" Letter to Prospective Employer - This is an unsolicited letter and typically receives little attention from a busy reader. Avoid when possible Turn into a "warm" letter by referencing a speaker, newspaper article,... 2. "Warm" Letter (Advertisement, Referral) - This type of letter is sent when someone known to the reader has suggested that you make contact, or when the reader has requested/invited candidates to respond. Newspaper Ad Internet Ad Personal Referral 3. "Hot" Letter - A decision maker within an organization or a close source has requested that you make contact. Work on "closing the sale" WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE COVER LETTER? Proper business letter heading information An introductory paragraph A statement of purpose A summary of qualifications A request for a response A proper business letter closing Heading Information Return address Date Contact name (be sure to include Mr./Ms./Dr. etc.), title and address Salutation Avoid generic salutations such as "To Whom it May Concern," "Dear Sir or Madam," and especially gender-specific assumptions such as "Gentlemen" If you have exhausted every possibility of getting the name of an individual and must use a generic salutation, use a simple "Good Morning:" or "Dear Prospective Employer:" Follow salutation with a colon (:). Commas are only for informal correspondence Call company, check spelling of contact name and get his/her current job title Introduction/Statement of Purpose (First paragraph) Explain why you are writing State what you hope to achieve Summary of Qualifications (Should be limited to one or two paragraphs) Explain your relevant qualifications Show the similarity of your qualifications to those required for the position. Explain how you can be a benefit to the employer Request For Response (Final paragraph) Affirm interest Take responsibility for next contact If this is not possible, as with a blind ad, for example, include information on how you can be contacted. Include your phone number with the signature if it is not in the body or heading of the letter. Closing Close letter with "Sincerely," Tab down four times Type full name Sign in blue or black in the space between the closing and your typed name COVER LETTER TIPS Open your letter with a strong statement. Draw attention to your past experience and accomplishments and the possible benefits to the employer Show, don't tell Example: Rather than "I can manage money..." say "As treasurer of my fraternity, I was responsible for a budget of $20,000..." Quantify achievements whenever possible Give examples (in % or $$) of situations where you increased sales or profits, improved productivity, decreased costs (or defects) or improved quality Be concise. One page maximum with three to four paragraphs is more than adequate. Use clean language, be articulate--not pedantic Example: Avoid saying "utilize" when "use" works. Say "read" not "peruse" Avoid colloquialisms such as "touch base," or "keep in touch" Avoid meaningless filler such as "at this point in time," "for whatever reason," "at the present moment" or "at a mutually convenient time and place" Focus on statements, not feelings Examples: Avoid: "I would like to thank you for..." Instead, say: "Thank you for..." Avoid: "I feel that I am qualified..." Instead say: "As you can see, my skills make me an excellent candidate..." Ask for an interview or at the very least a response Be positive and confident! Make copies of and keep track of all letters sent to makes follow-up easier Letter must be 100% error-free. Spell-check, grammar-check, proof read & ask others to proof Use quality bond paper in white or buff. (Be sure to use matching paper for your résumé!) Use print attributes (bold, italics, underlining) wisely, do not overuse Use a quality laser printer (minimum 300 DPI). Avoid ink jet, bubble jet and dot matrix printers OTHER TYPES OF JOB SEARCH-RELATED LETTERS Thank You Letter (After Interview) This letter is sent to interviewer after interview Should be sent ASAP after interview (1 or 2 days at most) Be Brief Express gratitude for time/interest Reinforce strengths If necessary, negate weaknesses that may have appeared in the interview Reaffirm interest Take responsibility for next contact Networking Letter Request informational interview Best approach: non-threatening Acceptance Letter Accept offer of position Confirm terms: salary, title, start date... Express gratitude, enthusiasm Rejection of Offer Letter Politely decline offer of position Give a "positive" reason for rejection Make a favorable statement about organization Always leave the door open Thank You Letter (After hire as a follow-up to those who helped with job search) Ideal for keeping networks open. Can include: network contacts, career office personnel, professional contacts... Express appreciation for time and effort expended on your behalf Offer reciprocal assistance, if ever needed Resignation Letter Express appreciation for time with organization Give company some credit for personal growth Inform of intention to leave: include final day, date Assure smooth transition Leave the door open Career Resource Center Cover Letter Template Once you read the guide above, use one of the appropriate Career Resource Center Cover Letter Template links below for help in formatting your letter: mgt.buffalo.edu/home/career/students/prep/tools/correspondence/letter Jane Ann Doe 911 Colvin Avenue Buffalo, NY 14216 (716) 832-9023 [email protected] October 24, 2010 Mr. George Smith Manager, Human Resources ABC Company 1100 Hertel Avenue Atlanta, GA 30070 Dear Mr. Smith: This letter is in response to your advertisement for a Management Trainee posted through the Career Resource Center at the University at Buffalo School of Management. Mr. Paul Miller, manager of ABC Company’s Buffalo office, has informed me about the company’s new business initiatives in Atlanta. I am interested in relocating to the Atlanta area and eager to apply my bachelor’s degree in business, strong leadership experiences, and interpersonal skills to your position. As you can see from my enclosed résumé, I have held several management positions, most notably president of my 165-member fraternity, which included managing a $20,000 budget as well as supervising six committees. I have also had extensive business experience, including two management internships. Finally, the strong communication skills your request in your posting can be seen in my work as a writer for the campus newspaper. I will be in Atlanta the week of November 5-10 and would enjoy meeting with you to discuss how I might contribute to the success of your company. I will call your office later next week to schedule an appointment. Sincerely, Jane A. Doe Enclosure Sample Cover Letter Jane Ann Doe 911 Colvin Avenue Buffalo, NY 14216 (716) 832-9023 [email protected] X Return address above includes telephone number with area code. May also include fax , e-mail & web address X Number of spaces to the date varies with length of letter: typically 1-8 spaces, or 13 spaces from top October 24, 2010 For the date, spell the month--do not use numeric format (i.e., 11/18/02) X X X X X The inside address begins on the sixth line after the date. Mr. George Smith Manager, Human Resources ABC Company 1100 Hertel Avenue Atlanta, GA 30070 Contact Name, including Mr./Ms./Dr. etc. Contact Title Company Name Company Address City, ST Zip + 4 (Use 2 letter state code, all-caps) X Dear Mr. Smith: Always address to a person. Don’t use “To Whom it May Concern” or Dear Sir/Madam. Follow with a colon. X Introductory paragraph establishes rapport & states purpose. State position & where you learned of it. Grab the reader’s attention by mentioning relevant skills in a positive manner. This letter is in response to your advertisement for a Management Trainee posted through the Career Resource Center at the University at Buffalo School of Management. Mr. Paul Miller, manager of ABC Company’s Buffalo office, has informed me about the company’s new business initiatives in Atlanta. I am interested in relocating to the Atlanta area and eager to apply my bachelor’s degree in business, strong leadership experiences, and interpersonal skills to your position. X Body of letter references enclosed résumé and highlights most RELEVANT qualifications. Use examples— “show, don’t tell.” Emphasize how you can make a contribution. Focus on the reader (Don’t start every sentence with “I.” As you can see from my enclosed résumé, I have held several management positions, most notably president of my 165-member fraternity, which included managing a $20,000 budget as well as supervising six committees. I have also had extensive business experience, including two management internships. Finally, the strong communication skills you request in your posting can be seen in my work as a writer for the campus newspaper. X In the closing paragraph, reaffirm interest; ask for an interview; and say you will call and when. I will be in Atlanta the week of May 5-10 and would enjoy meeting with you to discuss how I might contribute to the success of your company. I will call your office later this week to schedule an appointment. X Sincerely, X X Be sure to sign your name here X Jane A. Doe X Enclosure Notes: Keep letter to 1 page, always single space Use clean, simple font: 11 or 12 pt. Side margins: 1.25” or 1.5” for very short letter Top/bottom margin: minimum 1” For full block format, do not indent paragraphs Left-justify inside address and closing ** An "X" in the sample above is used to illustrate where "a blank line space" is used in the cover letter layout.
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