COVER LETTER GUIDE CAREER Career Resource

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]ffalo.edu
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.