Types of Cover Letters
In the course of your job search, you will write two basic types of letters to seek out employment opportunities: letters of application and letters of inquiry.
Letters of Application:
This type of letter is written in response to a specific, advertised job opening. Your purpose is to spur employers to read your resume and set up a job interview. In order to be successful, you must demonstrate that your qualifications match the requirements of the position. If possible, get a copy of the position description and study it carefully. Your letter should be organized as follows:
- Identify the position for which you are applying and state how you learned about it.
- Describe your qualifications as they relate to the position requirements, providing evidence of your related experiences and accomplishments.
- Convince the employer that you have the personal qualifications and motivation to perform well in the position.
- Indicate your availability for an interview.
Letters of Inquiry:
This letter is written to seek out possible openings and generate, if not a job interview, at least an initial informal interview. Since many positions are not widely advertised, a letter of inquiry is used to familiarize the employer with your qualifications so they will remember you when a position opens. Its structure is similar to the letter of application; but instead of addressing specific position requirements, it focuses on your qualifications and interests in broader, more general terms. Like the letter of application, it will be most effective if it reflects a knowledge of the organization and communicates what you can do to contribute to organizational needs and goals. This type of letter should be organized as follows:
- Ask for consideration for any existing or anticipated openings suited to your qualifications.
- State why you are attracted to the organization and indicate the area of the organization that interests you or the type of position you are seeking.
- Highlight your qualifications as they relate to your stated interest.
Ask for the opportunity to meet with someone to further discuss your interests and qualifications.
Sample Cover Letters
March 20, 2007
Ms. Nancy Edoff
1461 E. Twelve Mile Rd.
Madison Heights, MI 48071
Dear Ms. Nancy Edoff:
I am writing to apply for the Development Assistant position at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital advertised on the Albion College eRecruiting website. I am highly interested in working in the nonprofit sector, and believe my event planning, fundraising, and communication skills match what you are looking for in a candidate.
In addition to my Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication, I have been an events planning intern at the XYZ Women’s Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My experience at XYZ taught me how to work with vendors, design promotional materials, and organize all aspects of events. I played a major role in organizing the yearly Walk for Women event, from contributing creative ideas to calling contacts and organizing events. This experience makes me well suited to execute development events for St. Jude.
My fundraising experiences also make me well qualified for this position. In addition to learning about the field of development while volunteering at three local nonprofit organizations, I have been the philanthropy chair for my sorority. This year my sorority raised money for a local women’s shelter. My creativity and knowledge helped me to create a fundraising campaign that has brought the most money to the shelter in years. Since fundraising is a significant part of the Development Assistant job, I would be well equipped to continue St. Jude’s fundraising success.
Finally, my communication skills will help me make a contribution to the St. Jude team. As a student assistant in the Albion College Communications Office, I wrote press releases everyday. These skills will allow me to clearly convey to potential donors the importance of supporting St. Jude.
I have enjoyed the nonprofit work I have done and find that it energizes me. I would like to bring my event planning, fundraising, and communication skills to the St. Jude Children’s Research team as the Development Assistant. Enclosed is my resume for your review and I am available at your convenience for an interview.
Thank you for your time in reviewing my materials. I look forward to speaking with you.
Mary A. Albion
900 Kellogg Center
Albion, MI 49224
April 8, 2011
Ms. Katherine Sorrel
1 Industry Drive
Hartford, CT 06152
Dear Ms. Sorrel:
Please consider my enclosed resume for the XYZ Leadership Development Program. Currently, I am a senior majoring in English at Albion College with a minor in Economics. The qualities I have to offer XYZ in this program include:
• Leadership skills: While a student at Albion, I co-founded a student organization aimed at increasing community service involvement campus-wide. Over the past three years, we have been able to generate a 32% increase in student participation and have made valuable contributions to the Albion community. I also served as a Resident Assistant to more than 100 first-year students while achieving a 3.5 GPA in my classes.
• Interpersonal skills: While working as an intern at XYZ Company, I was selected for the marketing strategy team that partnered to increase revenue by 41% and customer base by 20%. During the summer months, I volunteered for a local non-profit organization where I worked with clients from different cultures. Based on my contributions and commitment to the organization, I earned recognition as “Volunteer of the Month.”
•Analytical and quantitative skills: In a team-based business simulation, I continuously analyzed the market and our competition for a financial services firm throughout the semester. The professor acknowledged our final project as being “an outstanding example for future classes.” Last year, as an intern, I participated in a cross-functional team to assess a proposed business venture expanding customer product offerings.
XYZ is a long-time leader in providing full-service solutions. Through this approach, the company has continued to expand its client base and market position for more than 125 years. Specifically, your mission to help people lead healthier, more secure lives matches my own personal values and interests, as demonstrated through my community service efforts.
I am committed to adding value and contributing to XYZ’s global expansion. I am available at your convenience for an interview. Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to speaking with you.