Writing a Cover Letter
to get you the job!

Writing a Cover Letter

What is writing a cover letter?  It is simply writing a letter, generally of one page in length, that accompanies another document. 

The purpose is to introduce the “other document” to the reader and perhaps to tell a little about that “other document.”

What other documents might you send to someone that would require a cover letter?  Any of these would be a chance to demonstrate an excellent business letter format.

The most obvious attachment would be the resume.  The cover letter for the resume becomes a letter of application. 

By the way, never send a resume without a cover letter.  The two go hand in hand!

  • If you have an itemized statement of expenses to send to someone by mail, for example, add a cover letter to tell about that.
  • If you have any documents to send to someone, the cover letter will help you to explain clearly the purpose of the attachments. 

The cover letter has an excellent and distinct purpose.

You may be sending someone a report.  You need a cover letter to introduce that particular attachment.


Writing a Cover Letter

How do you begin to write the cover letter?  Consider the basic outline of any letter, and fit the content of the cover letter into that “template.”

The opening paragraph

The first paragraph

The first paragraph tells the purpose of the letter and leads into the main body.

The first paragraph is easy to write.  Begin right away with the purpose.  Since the purpose is to refer to the attachment, begin with that:

  • The attached document, entitled …, will provide you with … 

Then add a goodwill comment to close this short first paragraph.

  • The attached document, entitled …, will provide you with …    Please take the time to …  review it so that you can proceed effectively.







The main body - middle paragraphs

The main body should have one or two short paragraphs and will provide the details of the situation. Be brief.  Be clear.  Write in short sentences using active voice.

The middle paragraphs provide the details.

  • The main idea the attached report document is to … and it explains clearly

Keep the middle paragraphs short, but clearly provide the details necessary to describe the attachment.

If the attachment is a report, briefly describe

  • the purpose of the report
  • the benefits to the reader
  • why you may have written the report. 

Also, include a mention of why you might be sending the report to the recipient.

If the attachment is a resume, highlight

  • what you want to reader to note about the resume
  • your skills
  • experience that would be directly relevant to this particular application

The purpose of writing a cover letter is simply to provide a brief explanation of why you are sending along the attachment.

Write in short paragraphs so that the main information jumps from the page. 

Short paragraphs

  • make up a very important part of business letter format
  • demonstrate an understanding of good writing format and excellent writing skills.


The closing short paragraph

Begin with a direct request for action and add a goodwill comment to highlight benefits to your reader.

Keep the closing short.  Begin with a direct request for action.

  • Please contact me at … if I can assist you with any details of this document. 

Then, add a goodwill comment to highlight benefits to your reader.

  • Please contact me at … if I can assist you with any details of this document.  I look forward to ….

OR

  • Please contact me at … if I can assist you with any details of this document.  I look forward, as I know you do, to ….


Writing a cover letter can be a rather straightforward exercise and good writing practice if you follow the basic rules provided above.


Always begin the closing paragraph with the direct request for action.

  • Please contact me at ... to ...

Then, add a goodwill comment to highlight benefits to the reader.

  • Please contact me at ... to ...  I look forward to working with you to make this an excellent project.

Something like that would be very effective.   

Include this letter format in your business writing repertoire, and much success!  You will be taking charge of your career!  Strive for success!


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