Importance of writing a Cover Letter

Your cover letter is as important as your resume because it is read first! Its purpose is to interest the reader in you as a prospective employee, and therefore it should be a very positive presentation. It should be brief, precise, and written in a business letter style.

There is no one perfect cover letter. The advice and examples of cover letters included in this handbook should only be used as guides . It is extremely important that you individualize the letter to highlight your unique qualifications; as they relate to the specific requirements sought by the employer.

Keep the following points in mind as your write and rewrite your cover letters:

Write to a specific person:

  • Use the person’s name and title.
  • Make sure the spelling is correct.
  • Cover letters should never include the salutations “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Hiring Partner,” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Include the following information:

  • Position you are applying for and how you learned of the opening.
  • Why you are applying for the position, level of interest.
  • Explanation of your qualifications and how you can contribute to the organization.
  • Make reference to your resume; but don’t repeat the same information.
  • State what action you want from them: an interview.
  • Indicate what follow-up action you will take.

General rules:

  • Every resume that is sent should be accompanied by a cover letter.
  • Limit your cover letter to one page.
  • Use good quality bond white or off white paper for both the resume and cover letter.
  • Use letter quality or laser printer for a clear sharp copy.
  • Check and recheck for accurate spelling and grammar. Do not rely on spell-check.

Some common attributes of bad cover letters:

  • Poor overall appearance
  • Poor grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Rambling, lack of focus
  • Self-focused instead of employer-focused
  • Bland, boring text
  • Embellished qualifications, bragging
  • Aggressive, pushy tone

 


Summer Clerkship Cover Letter

Sample Cover Letter

123 Main Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

December 1, 1998

Ms. Marilyn C. Employer
Hammer, Wrench & Saw
150 Market Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Ms. Employer:

Please consider the enclosed copy of my resume an application for the position of law clerk with your firm. I learned from the Career Services Office that you plan to hire a first-year law student next summer. I was pleased to discover that your firm practices in the area of construction law because that area is of particular interest to me.

As the assistant office manager for Longfellow Construction Company, I was involved with some construction law issues. I find this practice area fascinating and would like to learn more about it, as well as the other practice areas of your firm. I enjoy researching and writing, as evidenced by my involvement with the school newspaper. I feel this trait would be an asset to your firm.

I am extremely interested in the summer law clerk position with your firm and would appreciate the opportunity to further discuss this matter during an interview. I can interview at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Fredrick Firstyear

Source : Robert H. McKinney School of Law

 
 
 

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