Writers should know that a résumé must always be accompanied by a cover letter. In these letters, applicants should clearly indicate the position being sought, mention how they learned about it (in a newspaper ad, through another person), and explain how their qualifications suit each requirement listed in the job description. Finally, they should request an interview.
- Does the letter follow an acceptable format for a business letter?
- Is the letter addressed to a person rather than to a position? (“Dear Ms. Plotnic” is preferable to “Dear Personnel Manager.”)
- Does the first paragraph specifically identify the position being sought?
- Does the letter indicate how the student learned about the position?
- Does the letter acknowledge all requirements mentioned in the ad or job description?
- Does the applicant talk in terms of what he or she can do for the employer rather than the other way around? (With the exception of those applying for internships, which are set up to help people learn and gain hands-on experience, applicants are assumed to bring knowledge or expertise to a position; therefore, statements like “I expect to increase my knowledge about the accounting field” are out of place.)
- Is the letter error-free?