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The cover letter introduces your resume.  A cover letter, if well written, will get the employer’s attention and motivate him/her to carefully read your resume.

Basics

  • Always write to a specific individual – not Dear Sir or Madam.
  • Individualize to an organization.
  • Keep the letter brief – never more than one page.
  • Use simple and correct grammar.
  • Must be typed with no errors and on a good grade of bond paper.
  • Should reflect your personality, but since it is a business letter, do not deviate too widely from conventional formats.
  • Be sure to sign your letter and always include your return address.
  • Proofread your letter carefully.
  • Keep a copy of all your correspondence.
  • Record the information on your Job Search Record.

General Outline

Applicant’s Address
Applicant’s Phone Number

Date of Letter

Employer’s Name & Title
Employer’s Address

Salutation:

Opening Paragraph: State why you are writing, name the position or type of work for which you are applying and mention how you heard of the opening or organization.

Middle Paragraph: Explain why you are interested in working for this employer and specify your reasons for desiring this type of work.  If you have had relevant work experience or related education, be sure to point it out, but do not reiterate your entire résumé.  Emphasize skills and/ or abilities you have that relate to the job for which you are applying.  Be sure to do this in a confident manner and remember that the reader will view your letter of application as an example of your writing skills.

Closing Paragraph: You may refer the reader to your enclosed résumé or whatever media you are using to illustrate your training, interests and experience.  Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for the interview by indicating the action or steps you will take to initiate an interview date.

Sincerely,
Always Sign Letters

Your name typed
Enclosure: Résumé

Sample Exploratory Letter

Use a letter such as this when seeking career and employment information.  This letter will also serve as your first introduction to a contact at an organization where you might like to work.  For this type of letter to be effective, you must get their attention and create an interest in talking with you.

General Outline

1501 Yellow Rose Drive
Dallas, TX  75241
(972) 555-6667

Date of Letter

Arthur Works, Director
East Side Museum of Art
7766 Elmwood Drive
Jefferson, TX  75244

Dear Mr. Works:

I just read in the May issue of Metro that small museums are experiencing increased attendance and popularity.  Also, when reading last Sunday’s Dallas Morning News, I saw the article about your museum’s recent success and was intrigued by your analysis of the trends.

It struck me that beginning a career in arts and administration at the local level might make good sense rather than targeting large metropolitan museums.  I’d like to get your advice about the logic of this strategy.  As an art history major at Texas Woman’s University, I am trying to get a head start by doing some research on summer internship possibilities.

Gaining first hand experience seems very important in beginning a career in arts administration.  I have been involved in the Docent Society at Denton County’s Historical Museum as a volunteer guide.  Last summer I spent 15 hours a week working as an intern at the Children’s Museum in Fort Worth.  Also, in my major, I am concentrating on American artists of the 19th century.

I would greatly appreciate half an hour of  your time to explore any ideas you might have.  I will call you next Tuesday to discuss arranging a convenient time that we may meet.  I look forward to talking with you.

Sincerely,
Always sign letters

Sandra Smith
Enclosure:  Resume

page last updated 9/16/2014 4:27 PM