Writing a Cover Letter

Your cover letter is an opportunity to fully explain why you are the best candidate for a job, so don’t neglect it!  Even if an employer does not require a cover letter, it is always a good idea to send one.  Here are a few basic rules to follow that will make your cover letter shine:

Do make your letter different from your resume.  Don’t just cut and paste your job history.  Use this forum to explain why your experiences will benefit the company.

Do personalize your letter by using the hiring manager’s name.  If the hiring manager’s name is not available, address it “Dear Hiring Manager”.

Do use the job description and company information to write your letter explaining why you would be good for the job.

Do adjust your letter for each potential job.  Take a few extra minutes to address each company’s particular needs and you will really stand out from the crowd.

Do close with professional phrases such as “Respectfully Yours”, “Sincerely”, or “Best Regards”.

Don’t address your letter “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”.  These phrases are vague and over-used.

Don’t use incomplete sentences.  This is an opportunity to show the employer how well you write, so don’t make it sound like a telegram.

Don’t end on a weak note.  Ask for an interview and assert that you will follow up in a couple of days.

Don’t forget to thank them for their time and consideration.

Don’t forget to sign hard copies of cover letters.

WAI Staff

Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving businesses and job seekers in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1972, we’ve been dedicated to matching highly qualified candidates with a wide variety of temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions. We prioritize the needs of both our clients and candidates to ensure successful, lasting relationships.