Even though you may be a teenager applying to a part time job, it would be impressive if you took the time to write a professional resume with a cover letter. The purpose of a resume cover letter is to introduce you and your resume as well as give some additional information about yourself to potential employers. You may also want to point out some parts of your resume you want the employer to pay special attention to. An individually typed cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Your resume will not be addressed to one specific person; however, your cover letter gives you the opportunity to target a hiring manager. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored. It makes sense to devote the necessary time and effort to write effective cover letters.
A cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume. Its' purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression. The goal is to make a match between your qualifications and education and the job.
Three Kinds of Cover Letters:
* The application letter responds to a specific job opening you have seen advertised
* The prospecting letter enquires about any job openings
* The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search
The first 20 words are the most important; they should attract the reader’s attention. Make the opening sentence catchy. Address the letter to the person who is making the hiring decision. If necessary, call for a contact name. Refer to the job title in the first paragraph. Don’t write one generic cover letter and send it to every company; tailor the letter to each job. You should also mention where you found the company’s advertisement. Use correct grammar rules when writing titles and names.
Describe your skills in relation to the job. Tie your experience to the job description. Here are a few skill words that you can use: accurate, cheerful, dependable, collaborative, excellent written and verbal communicator, courteous, discrete, enthusiastic, flexible, hard -working, innovative, leadership, multi-tasker, organized, reliable, responsible, punctual, customer service, interpersonal, Microsoft Office, Social Media, teamwork, takes initiative, learns quickly. Read the job posting to see which skills the employer values the most.
To be effective, your cover letter should follow the basic format of a typical business letter and should address three general issues:
1. First Paragraph - Why you are writing – Explain your interest. If you have been referred to the employer by one of their workers, use that name! It will encourage the manager to keep reading. If you are only prospecting for possible job openings, state your job objective. If you are networking to gain information, make your request clear.
2. Middle Paragraphs - What you have to offer – Show your knowledge and understanding of the job. State that you are uniquely qualified for the position based on your credentials and the position’s qualifications. If you are only prospecting, express your potential to fulfill the employer’s needs. Give evidence that you have researched the organization thoroughly and that you possess skills needed within that organization. You can emphasize your achievements, transferable work skills, and your relevant education.
3. Concluding Paragraph - How you will follow-up - Close by reiterating your interest in the job and letting the employer know how they can reach you and include your phone number and/or email address. If you want, you can make a bid directly for the job interview or informational interview and indicate that you will follow-up with a telephone call to set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time. Be sure to make the call within the time frame indicated. In some instances, an employer may explicitly prohibit phone calls or you may be responding to a “blind want-ad” which precludes you from this follow-up. Unless this is the case, make your best effort to reach the organization. At the very least, you should confirm that your materials were received and that your application is complete.
If you are applying from outside the employer’s geographic area you may want to indicate if you’ll be in town during a certain time frame (this makes it easier for the employer to agree to meet with you).
Your cover must be typed and proof-read! First impressions are very important. Appear as professional as possible. Edit your cover letter to be friendly, confident and personable. Don’t include anything negative. You may indicate that your references are available on request. Also, if you have a portfolio or writing samples to support your qualifications, state their availability.
Sample Cover Letter
32 Any Street
AnyTown, NY 11490
Mr. James Peterson
Human Resource Director
6234 W. 54th Avenue
Apple, NY 11650
Dear Mr. Peterson,
I am responding to your advertisement in today’s New York Times for an Office Manager. After reading the requirements, I was excited to see a strong affinity between your position and my background and skills.
- With regard to your education requirement, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from C.W. Post, 2002. I am certified in Microsoft Office and Intuit QuickBooks.
- You asked for at least 5 years of experience in managing a diverse office in a manufacturing environment. I have 7 years of experience as an Office Manager at Gaetano Industries, Distribution Center, Queens, NY.
- Additionally, I hold 6 years of experience as an Assistant Office Manager at DRB Manufacturing, Long Island City, NY.
- Your final requirement was for a Bi-lingual candidate. I speak Spanish, French, and English.
I currently work as an Office Manager at a busy manufacturing plant where I support a team of 12 department supervisors and coordinate all office functions. I am a motivated self-starter with excellent inter-personal skills. I understand the manufacturing process and feel that I have the knowledge and background to be a true asset to you. I am confident that I can not only train and supervise a team of clerical workers, but also organize your office into a smooth running operation.
I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your review. I look forward to sharing with you how l will fit nicely into your organization. I will be in touch with you early next week to discuss the possibility of arranging an interview.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 555-555-1212 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to meeting with you!