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Cover letter, prospecting and thank you letters

Guidelines for cover letter writing packet

Cover letters

A cover letter, also referred to as a letter of application, accompanies your resume. Cover letters are important because they serve as a first impression of your application materials. They also reflect your writing skills.

Cover letters serve multiple purposes, including:

  • Introducing your resume
  • Expressing your personality, skills, experience and enthusiasm for the position
  • Providing support for your candidacy that is not covered by your resume

It is extremely important that you customize your cover letter for each position and employer you are applying to.

General cover letter tips:

  • Be concise in your cover letter; keep it to one page.
  • Let them know how you found out about the position. Was it posted on a site? Were you referred by a friend?
  • Use the same font.
  • Address the document to a specific person. A cover letter that addresses a specific person by name gets attention. If you cannot find an individual, then you can use a more generic opening. 
  • Sell yourself! Be specific about your qualifications, education and experience. Indicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Think about what from your background has prepared you for the opportunity.
  • Be sure to proofread your letter. There should be no grammar or spelling errors.

Cover letter outline:

Click the link below for information about what to include in each paragraph of the cover letter:

Example #1: cover letter outline PDF icon

Cover letter outline example

Cover letter examples:

Click the link below for cover letter examples:

Example #2: sample cover letterPDF icon

Cover letter example 2

Example #3: sample cover letter PDF icon

Cover letter example 3

Prospecting letters

A prospecting letter accompanies your resume when applying to a company that may not have current openings. These letters focus on how your qualifications match the work environment rather than focusing on a specific position.

The purpose of a prospecting letter is to:

  • Explore possible vacancies within a company.
  • Get your resume read.
  • Generate an interview.

General prospecting letter tips:

  • Target specific individuals within the organization.
  • Focus on broader occupational and company information.
  • Suggest an action plan — indicate that you plan to follow up the letter with a phone call.
  • Be sure to proofread your letter. There should be no grammar or spelling errors!
  • If appropriate, ask for an application.

Prospecting letter example:

Prospecting letter example PDF icon

Prospecting letter example

Thank you letters

Thank you letters are essential in the job search process. Writing a thank you letter after an interview is a must. It shows the employer your interest in the position, it expresses appreciation and it can strengthen your candidacy.

General thank you letter tips:

  • Plan to send out your thank you letters promptly (preferably within 24-48 hours, no later than a week) after the interview.
  • Use the thank you letter as an opportunity to reemphasize your strongest qualifications. Draw attention to the good fit between your qualifications and the job requirements. It is a way for you to provide the employer with more information.
  • Keep the thank you letter short and to the point. It should be about one page in length.
  • A thank you letter can be hand written, typed or emailed. Let the company culture drive how you compose your thank you letter.
  • Remember to proofread your thank you letter! Be sure to check your spelling, grammar, typos, formatting and overall appearance.

Three basic parts of the thank you letter:

  • Express your sincere appreciation. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to talk with you. Be sure to include the date the interview occurred.
  • Reaffirm your interest in the company/position. Point out particular issues brought up during the interview that appeal to you. Try to personalize the letter by referring to a topic you discussed during the interview.
  • Close the letter with another word of appreciation. Offer to provide additional information. Include a statement that you look forward to hearing from them.

Thank you letter example:

Click the link below for a thank you letter example:

Thank you letter example PDF icon

Thank You Letter Example

For more information on thank you letters,  contact the Career Services Center at (573) 875-7425.


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