EMPLOYMENT PORTFOLIO: COVER LETTER ASSIGNMENT
Create a cover letter using the guidelines below. Audience and purpose of the cover letter are strong and clear. Each major section includes all required information (address, date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. Written like a sales pitch; highlights aspects of the resume that are of particular importance to the position; shows applicant is the right fit for position and organization; reflects the language of the job posting; clearly written for a specific posting, not generic. Letter shows a professional appearance, tone, and style. Demonstrates knowledge and use of conventions; enhances the readability of the letter.
· Include updated contact information such as your phone number and a professional email address
· Use design and formatting suggestions provided in your textbook
· Limit the length to one page
· Proofread for spelling and grammar errors prior to submitting your cover letter
Writing a Cover Letter
· What is a cover letter? A cover letter introduces you and your resume to potential employers. It is often the first document employers see, so it usually generates the first impression of you and your abilities (Brizee & Olson, 2010).
· A cover letter serves to highlight aspects of your resume that are of particular importance to your prospective position and allows you to expand on experiences and attributes that show you are the right fit for the job and organization.
· What is the purpose of a cover letter? Generally, your cover letter, along with your resume, makes up the sales pitch that you use to convince potential employers of your worth to the organization, and how they will benefit from hiring you.
· A cover letter should highlight your individuality: what in particular sets you apart from other applicants and makes you potentially valuable to the organization. It should get the reader’s attention, and convince him or her to schedule an interview. It should demonstrate knowledge about the organization and evidence that you have done your “homework” prior to applying for the position.
· Finally, a cover letter should show you are tailoring the documents you send for each position to that particular company, rather than sending out generic form letters—this goes a long way in demonstrating real interest in the position (Brizee & Olson, 2010). The cover letter should reflect the language found in the job posting.
Formatting the Cover Letter
· Spacing: Single-space your cover letter, putting a double-space in the following places:
○ between the inside address and the salutation;
○ between the salutation and the body of the letter;
○ between the body of the letter and the signature block; and
○ between the signature block and the enclosure reference.
· Margins: The top and side margins should be equal, while the bottom margin should be about one and a half times as large as the other margins. The margins should make your letter look balanced on the page (Brizee & Olson, 2010).
· Placement of text: Align your return address and signature block with either the left or the right margins. However, be consistent—if you put one on the left, put them both on the left. If you line up both address and signature block with the left margin, you will want your paragraphs to be flush left, too. This will allow you to fit more text on the page. Most prospective employers prefer cover letters to be one page, so this placement will help fit everything on one page (Brizee & Olson, 2010).
Presentation and Style of the Cover Letter
Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding on the style of your cover letter:
· Be certain that your cover letter contains no typos and no grammatical or spelling errors. These errors make a letter appear very unprofessional and are the cause of many outright rejections. The idea is if you make errors like these when applying for a job, you will be prone to errors on the job as well.
· If you adopt a formal tone, the professionalism of the letter will be heightened.
· Use technical terminology when appropriate; you may find examples of such terminology in the job posting.
· Do not use contractions (can’t, won’t, etc.)
· As much as you can, avoid using “I”, “me”, and “my”—instead, emphasize “you.” When you have to use personal pronouns, try to put them in the middle of the sentence, reserving the subject of the sentence for your experiences and achievements. Overuse of personal pronouns can project an image of self-centeredness, which is counterproductive.
Brizee, A., & Olson, A. (2010). Quick content tips for cover letters. Purdue Owl: Online Writing Lab. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/549/01/
Assignment aligns to: (SLOs 1-4 & EOs 1a-c, 2a-c, 3a-d, 4a-b)