Library Blog

Cover Letters

WHAT IS A COVER LETTER?

A cover letter is a marketing document.  It is a letter you write to a potential employer outlining and detailing your skills and accomplishments.  Most importantly the letter should tell a potential employer what you can do for them. In fact, most of the letter should be about them and what they need from you.  It should be an engaging read and pertain to the job or position you are applying for.


HOW LONG SHOULD IT BE?

Try to write one that is only one page.  If you write one that is longer, you may lose the attention of your audience.  People have short attention spans.

CAN JOB/CAREER GAPS BE EXPLAINED IN YOUR COVER LETTER?

Yes, they can!  If there is a job gap on your resume, you may explain to them what you were doing during this time, but make sure it is legitimate.  Some legitimate gap reasons are listed below:

  • Parenting-perhaps you worked for a while and then stopped because you wanted to start a family.  This is a legitimate job gap.
  • Being laid off or losing your job-you can indicate that this is the reason, but do not harp on it too much.  Maintain focus and describe to them why they should hire you!
  • Perhaps you were a caregiver to a sick relative.  This is an acceptable job gap.  People know that life happens and sometimes we need to take of our families.
  • Perhaps you are a student and went back to school to completely focus on your studies.  Instead of working, you decided that you wanted to focus on your education.  This is a legitimate job gap.

You can put as an example put in your letter, “As I prepare my return to work in my health care career after having spent a year caring for an elderly parent, OR spent a year studying medical coding, OR after losing my job due to lack of work, I am ready to get on board in full swing again, OR my children have now graduated from college and I am thinking about some organizations that I would love to represent.”

WHO SHOULD I ADDRESS THE COVER LETTER TO?

If you can find the name of the hiring manager, please use their name.  But that’s not always possible because most people apply for jobs online, and a name is usually not provided.  You could call the company to find out the hiring manager’s name, unless the company or organization has a “No Phone Calls Please” policy or message listed on their website or within the job description, then don’t call them.  When you see that type of message, they generally mean it.

EXAMPLES OF COVER LETTERS


Dear Hiring Manager:

Please accept my application for the Residential Counselor position as advertised on your website.  I feel I would make a good match for this position as I have worked at ABC Homes for five years.

While I was there, I worked with individuals with social and behavioral issues.  I transported them to social activities such as dinner, movies, and doctor’s visits.  I also assisted them in doing their laundry, household chores, and meal preparation.  In addition to this job, I also have extensive experience in customer service such as cleaning, cooking, and making sure customers are satisfied with services that I have rendered.  I believe these skills would make a good transfer to the Residential Counselor position as you require someone who can work with the developmentally disabled population, and I am ready to offer enthusiastic support to your residents and to ABC Services.

I welcome the opportunity to speak with you in greater length.  Please contact me at 555-555-5555 or email me at sampleapplicant@gmail.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Dear Hiring Manager:

Please accept my application for the Early Learning Center Floater position as posted on the Indeed website.  As you can see from my enclosed resume, I have worked with children in an educational setting, and I enjoy being in their company very much.

During my time in abroad, I taught English as a second language and helped students improve upon their English speaking, reading, and grammatical skills.  I took some time off from my job at ABC Association to raise and homeschool my son, and I am familiar with all aspects of caring for children one-on-one and in group settings.  During my time abroad, our missionary group was responsible for the safety and well-being of the students, and we helped with educational endeavors such as teaching English, religious instruction, teaching music, and making sure they were sufficiently fed.  The pastor at the Church often commended my ability to establish good relationships with the students.  I also received positive feedback from the students at Main High School.  I am still in contact with some of them today, and they can certainly vouch for my professionalism.  I also assist with taking care and teaching children ages 3-6 years for Sunday school at ABC Church in Ohio.

I feel confident that these acquired skill sets would work out well with your program as you require someone who can assist teaching staff with various classroom activities that are fun and educational and for someone who places a high standard on education and cares for the development of children in a nurturing environment.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how I can make a difference to ABC Company.


Dear Hiring Manager:

I am writing to apply for the Grocery Stock Clerk position with ABC Supermarket. I believe that my experience, enthusiasm and relevant skills make me a strong candidate for this important role.

I have a strong background in shipping, receiving, and stocking as well as taking inventory, with a focus on accuracy and detail. As my background shows, I am dependable and punctual and believe that I will be a strong and unique asset to your team.

Although I had to take a temporary break from the workforce to care for my elderly parents in their time of need, my job skills remain up-to-date. I have made every effort to stay current with my work ethics, and I am prepared to dedicate the time and effort required to be a productive and reliable employee of your fine company. I am a diligent, focused, energetic individual and would love to be able to bring those qualities to ABC Supermarket.

I welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about this opportunity. Thank you for your time, I hope to hear from you soon.


Dear Hiring Manager:

I would like to express my interest in applying for your full-time Detention Officer position as advertised in Indeed.  I am confident that I can produce the results you are looking for.

The enclosed resume will briefly highlight my career accomplishments and showcase my genuine passion to be a Detention Officer.  I believe in being fair, firm, and consistent with handling situations such as treating everyone the same and not showing any favoritism.  I am a firm believer in rehabilitation, and I do believe that it’s not how you start in life, but it’s how you finish and improve your life.  One quality that would make me great is that I have worked in environments where I have had to restrain and calm individuals in high-stress situations.  I know how to deescalate hostile situations without having to use force, and help people cope with emotions in stressful environments.  I am interested in assisting youth and adults realize their full potential and would like to see them progress into fully functional human beings.  My background as a Support Specialist and a Security Guard makes me an ideal candidate for this position as you are looking for someone who can remain calm and level-headed during times of extreme pressure.

Given my experience and drive, I am convinced that I have what it takes to collaborate with your team to deliver excellence.  I welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss how my skills would be best utilized.  Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Dear Hiring Manager:

Please accept my application for the Nutritional position available at the women and children’s program.   I have worked 26 years in the nutrition field, and I believe that this organization would benefit tremendously from the years of experience I have brought into this job with the women and children’s program.

At present, I work as a part-time Dietician where I counsel and advise women and children from various backgrounds in nutrition and breastfeeding.  I help them to establish personal nutrition and health goals.  On a daily basis, I chart their health and nutrition information in accordance with the Women and Children’s Health Department policies and procedures, and I individualize the food packages based on their preferences and needs based on program guidelines and nutritional assessment.  I also assist with outreach to help the Women and Children’s Health Department program grow.   As the Women and Children’s Health Department is a referral agency, I am responsible for making referrals to other community and health programs as needed.

The years of dedication and perseverance have brought me to really appreciate the evolution of the program where I initially spent time with first-generation mothers.  These mothers I provided Women and Children’s Health Department services to 25 years ago now bring their children into our office, and I can provide that same service to them which makes them feel part of the Women and Children’s Health Department family.  This part of my job really resonates with me as I feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the community and forming a bond of trust.  This connection can only come from the vast experience that I have brought forth to the program.

I am looking forward to meeting with you to discuss how my skill set can benefit the organization.  I can be reached at 555-555-5555.  I know that my experience will make a difference in the Women and Children’s Health Department.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Dear Hiring Manager:

I am applying to the Inspector position as advertised on the Ohio Means Jobs website.  I believe my experience would transfer nicely into the ABC culture.

I have 22 years of experience working at XYZ Company.  Out of those 22 years, I spent 10 years working as an inspector where I was responsible for detecting discontinuities, cosmetic, and structural repairs.  As you can see from my resume, I had the opportunity to work in many departments and was encouraged from supervisors to learn all aspects of automotive manufacturing.  I learned and completed each job successfully.  I have good communication skills, am organized, pay good attention to detail, and hold a good record for quality control.  I believe the versatile nature of my job at XYZ Company will enable me to be an asset to assist ABC Company with their goals and mission. In addition to my learned skill set at XYZ Company, my coworkers and managers can attest to my good nature and positive attitude.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how my skill set will transfer into the ABC Company environment.  Please contact me for an interview. I look forward to hearing from you.


Dear Hiring Manager:

I am interested in applying for the Supervisor Housekeeper position.  I am confident that my skills along with my current endeavors studying Hospitality Management at ABC University would make me a viable candidate.

Over the course of my career, I have worked in various occupations relating to customer service.  I have worked in restaurants and have worked in the hospitality field.  During my time in Europe, I was responsible for making room reservations, assisting with the scheduling of local events and attractions, keeping track of linen and supply inventory, and supervising cleaning assignments to the staff.  This experience combined with my studies in the hospitality field would make an ideal fit for your organization.   Hospitality is a customer-driven industry, and while I have primarily worked in the food service industry, I believe my skill set would transfer nicely into working as a Supervisor in Housekeeping.  I have a certificate in facilities hotel management and from this I learned about electrical and water intervention in the event of an emergency.  I also learned how to clean rooms properly and how to organize the cleaning carts to ensure time efficiency.  Regarding laundry, I learned the process of washing, drying, folding, and ironing.

I expect to receive my bachelor’s degree in January of 2042.  Other pertinent coursework that would enable me to become a reliable Supervisor are my studies in front office operations, facilities management, law ethics for management, event management, and hospitality operations management.

In addition to gaining knowledge about the hospitality field, I speak four languages: French, English, Greek, Italian, and even know some Arabic.  I would be able to communicate with international travelers and can relate to people from various cultural backgrounds.

I look forward to an opportunity to discuss with you my experience in greater length.  Please contact me at 555-555-5555.


Dear Hiring Manager:

Please accept my application for the Teller position. Given my strong background in pleasing customers, I feel that I would make a good addition to your team.

As you can see from my resume, I have several years of experience working in a customer service setting.   In my current position, I accurately process customer transactions, balance cash drawers for tobacco products and the lottery machine.  My main responsibility is to make sure that all money is completely accounted for.  I am known for my exceptional relationship skills and have a pleasant demeanor with customers, management, and co-workers.  I assist customers and employees daily and have gained the ability to sell ideas and persuade others with suggestions.  I am required to complete paperwork that shows that the financial categorizing of products sold add up.  I also make sure money is kept secure and deposit it in the bank daily.

Your organization is looking for someone who can pay strong attention to detail, make sound and reasonable decisions regarding customer transactions, and be courteous and positive.  I am confident that I would be able to bring in valuable skills and work well with the Bank and the employees in their mission of creating an enjoyable, exceptional, and memorable experience for all customers.

I welcome the opportunity to learn more about XYZ Bank’s operations and compliance procedures as well as to understand the bank’s business objectives and goals.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


VALUABLE LINKS

16 Secrets for Writing Cover Letters That Get You Hired by Time.com

How to Write a Cover Letter by The BalanceCareers.com

5 Perfect Opening Lines for Your Cover Letter by Glassdoor.com


Judy is a certified Career Facilitator.  She has worked with many patrons over the past three years assisting them in writing effective resumes and cover letters.  She has guided individuals through the online job application process and has helped them register for Ohio Means Jobs.   If you need assistance or would like to send her your resume for review, please email her at jjjones@libraryvisit.org.  If you email her your phone number, she can call and talk to you in person if this is your preference.