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Create a Cover Letter in English

This section will assist you to write cover letters.
The examples we offer are a popular style in English-speaking countries.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a short letter that introduces your resume to the company you are applying to work for. Your cover letter states why you want to work for that company and why you would be good for the position. It offers a 'quick overview' of why you should get the job. It also gives an example of your writing ability and attention to detail.

An effective cover letter catches the attention of the reader and makes him or her invite you for an interview.

In some cultures cover letters are not important, but if you are applying for a job in an English-speaking country you must include one.

Do I need to include a cover letter in my application?

Many hiring managers will not look at a resume that does not come with a cover letter.  They might receive 100s of applications, and rely on a cover letter to save time.

Unless the job advertisement says "no letter is necessary", you should include a cover letter to be safe.

Sometimes, job ads ask for a 'hand-written' cover letter, but this is rare.

A cover letter should:

- say why you are writing and for what position you are applying
- say where you saw the advertisement
- be clear and to the point
- repeat the specific skills, abilities, and experience the job advertisement identifies
- show you have done your homework - you must match your background to the company
- highlight key information from your resume, but do not simply repeat what is in the resume
- be positive and enthusiastic - show you really want the job
- encourage the reader to take a closer look at your resume

Tip
Use strong action verbs and phrases to describe your skills, interests, and abilities.

A cover letter should NOT:

 

- be a summary or repeat of your resume
- be a form letter you send with all job applications. Change it to reflect the new company.

Tip
If you are sending many resumes it is difficult to keep re-writing your cover letter.
In this case, write a cover letter for each industry or area you are applying for.

Addressing your letter

If you can, learn the name of the person who will be reading your resume. Spell the name correctly and use the correct title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Dr., or "Professor."). If you do not know the name of the person, write "To whom it may concern," or Dear Sir/Madam,"

Include your address.

Include the position you are applying for. A hiring manager could have more than 1 job advertised at the same time.

Make it natural

Write a cover letter in your own words - do not copy a template from someone else. It must sound natural and reflect the tone in your resume.

The more personal the letter is to the company, the better.  A reader knows if it is the standard cover letter that you use for every application. Make it special.

Tip:
Sometimes people forget to change the name of another company or position! 
Be careful!

Research, research, research. . .

Prove you know something about the industry and the company. Don't go crazy, but show the reader that you have done some research.  Demonstrate you know:

- who they are
- what they do
- why you want to work for them.
 

Use expressions and terms that the employer will appreciate. You will find these when you do your research. Talk in a 'language' they understand.  For example, if you are applying for a job in sales, use words like budget, forecasting, business development, etc.

Tip:
Do not state the salary you want in a cover letter.

Format

Cover letters follow the standard business letter style and include:
 
     
  


Introduction:
State the position you are applying for, and try to catch the reader's immediate interest.

Body: Repeat the description in the job ad, and explain why you are interested in the job, and why you are the best person for it. Be sure to include your skills, qualifications, and past experience.  You can also include special information if you need to, such as the date you can start.

Conclusion: Sum up your letter and state what you think the next step should be. For example, that you will contact the employer in one week, or that you look forward to hearing from the person. Then sign off the letter using 'Yours sincerely,' with a signature line.

Tip:
Use the same font style and size that you use in your resume.

Example cover letters

Adele Bauer
Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 1.
Bonn, D-52110
Germany
+49 (0)228 429 361
abauer@deworld.de

Mr David Simmons,
Operations Manager,
Fourston Tower Hotels,
Peterborough, ON M8Y A7C
Canada

November 2, 2008
RE: Customer Services Manager Position

Dear Mr. Johnson,
 
I am writing in response to your advertisement in the Daily Tribune on October 31 seeking a Customer Services Manager for your hotel. You will find my resume included with this letter.

As you will see from my attached resume, my skills and experience match the position you are filling.

Of particular relevance is my 7 years experience working in hotel chains, and my certificate in hotel management. 

I am aware of the excellent reputation of your hotel and it would be an honor to be part of such a well-respected team. 

I look forward to hearing fom you, and having the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how I can enhance your organization.

Yours sincerely,



Anna Hampton

Tip:
Check your spelling!!
Remember, spelling rules change within different countries.

Mr. Bak Park
#18, Yoido-dong
Youngdeungpo-gu
Seoul 150-790
South Korea
+82 (0)2 781 127
bpark2@hanmail.com

The HR Manager
Nestech Computers
6142 Carlisle Road
Sydney NSW 2066
Australia

May 14, 2008
RE: Pharmaceutical Representative Position

To Whom It May Concern,

I am responding to your advertisement in the Korea Times on May 13, 2008 for a Pharmaceutical Representative. Please find my resume attached.

 

I have eight years experience in sales and marketing and have been working for a pharmaceutical company for the past two years.

Throughout my career, I have consistently achieved my budgets and shown continued success in sales. I enjoy the challenges in the pharmaceutical industry and this continuously helps me to improve my skills, both independently and as a team member. I am very interested in the product range your company produces, and would be a valuable member of your sales force.

I hope to arrange an interview to discuss my qualifications.  I am available to come in at any time that is convenient.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Bak Park

Tip:
Verbs - do not use abbreviations such as  I'm or I've use the full written form (I am or I have). Remember, this is formal writing. 

Applying through e-mail

If you're applying for a job online, it is possible to use the body of your e-mail as a cover letter and your resume as an attachment. The problem here is that they may not print your e-mail, so we believe it is safer to attach a cover letter.