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Elements of a Cover Letter

There are four main elements to a cover letter.

  • Opening. Explain why you're writing. State the position you are seeking and the source of the job opening. (e.g., newspaper ad, friend, co-worker).
  • Main body. Highlight your job qualifications and link them to the company's needs. Show that you know something about the company and are interested in the company's products or services.
  • Closing. Request an interview and enclose your phone number.
  • Thank the employer for his or her time and effort.

Other important information when writing a cover letter:

  • Write an individualized cover letter for each job employer.
  • Address the letter to the person you want to contact, preferably the one doing the hiring.
  • Type letter on quality 8 ½ x 11 paper.
  • Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Convey personal warmth and enthusiasm.
  • Keep your letter short and to the point.
  • Describe how your skills and abilities will benefit the company.
  • Provoke the employer to read your resume.
  • Request a job interview.
  • Keep a copy for your follow-up records.
  • Sign your letter.


Keep a file of the resumes you send out and follow up with a phone call. Surveys have shown that only two percent of resumes mailed to employers result in an interview. If you follow up with a phone call, the success rate jumps to 20 percent.

Below is an example of a cover letter.

14 Busy Avenue
Gloucester, MA 01632
November 16, 1993

Ms. Gail Zwenthal, President
What's In Store, Inc.
1 Copley Place
Boston, MA 02116

Dear Ms. Zwenthal:

I am interested in the Customer Service position you recently advertised in the Boston Gazette on November 15, 1993.

My part-time work experience and high school education have prepared me for this position. As the yearbook sales representative, I was responsible for the communication and problem-solving needed to successfully sell the advertisements for the yearbooks. I can also use WordPerfect and type forty-five words per minute.

I would like to discuss my skills in an interview. My home telephone number is (508) 947-8811.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Shirley Givens