When someone asks you to send a letter and a resume, whether hard copy or by email, they are asking for a Cover Letter. A cover letter is so called because it “covers” your resume. It should make a good impression for you and entice the reader to look at your resume with interest. Remember that your cover letter will be looked upon as a sample of the quality of your work (and your writing).

  • The cover letter should be written specifically to the organization you are contacting. Unless you are answering an advertisement, it should be directed toward a person, not “to whom it may concern”.
  • The cover letter must be perfect. Perfect typing, perfect spelling, perfect grammar. Perfect.
  • Type the envelope or use a printed label if you are sending it hard copy.
Basic Format

If you are sending email with your resume as an attachment, you don’t need a heading containing your address and the address of the recipient. Simply start with “Dear Ms. Smith:” (for example). However, if you are sending hard copy, have a heading on your letter to match your resume’s heading. There is an example on the reverse.
Dear ______:

Paragraph One: State why you are writing. If you are responding to an ad or lead, state the position for which you are applying and where you heard of the opening. If you are “cold contacting”, say what kind of position you desire.
Paragraph Two: This is your chance to make an impression. If you are responding to an ad or lead, point out how your experience or education matches the requirements of the position. If you are “cold contacting”, point out one or two experiences that have prepared you to work for that particular organization. Give specific, concrete examples.
Paragraph Three: State what you will do next. Preferably “I will contact you within a week to
answer any questions you may have about my application.”

Your name (typed & signed)
Enclosure or attachment (if including resume)


Eastern University 1300 Eagle Road
St. Davids PA 19087
610-341-1234 (cell)

January 19, 2011

Jane Smith, Vice President
Human Resources
Best Bedding Company
123 Sleepy Lane
Mellowville, PA 12345


Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the telephone this morning about openings at the Best Bedding Company suitable for a philosophy major with an interest in product development. The position of Dreamer sounds exactly like what I am looking for, and I am enclosing my resume as you requested.

As you will see from my resume, I was a product development intern with the marketing department of Hi-Rise Elevator Company. With Hi-Rise I learned the basics of product development and was a member of the team that brought the new Super-Hi elevator successfully to market. I also determined that, personally, I would prefer to work with more horizontally-oriented products such as hammocks or bedding.

I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of working with Best Bedding. I will contact you within ten days to answer any questions you may have about my application.


A Very Good Student

Resume attached