What Do You Put in a Resume Cover Letter?

by Rick Suttle; Updated September 26, 2017
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Resume cover letters should be relatively short, ranging from three to five paragraphs long. These cover letters are designed to introduce your resume to the company for which you are applying. Resume cover letters should follow a logical format, including introducing yourself and explaining why you are applying for a particular job. The overall objective of a cover letter is to get an interview. You can send resume cover letters by mail or via email.

Names and Addresses

Start your resume cover letter by typing your street address about an inch down from the top of the page in the left-hand margin. Type your city, state and zip code on the second line, then include your telephone number on the third line. Put the current date on the third line in lieu of your telephone number. Skip four spaces after the third line, then type the name of the person to whom you are writing. Include the company's name, street address, city, state and zip code on the next three lines. Skip two lines and enter your salutation, such as "Dear Mr. Jones."

Addressing the Job

Explain why you are sending the cover letter in the first paragraph, according to Virgina Tech University. Mention the specific job to which you are applying and where you learned about the job opening. Include the date the job was posted, if relevant. For example say, "I would like to apply for the marketing manager position that you advertised in the 'Philadelphia Inquirer' on June 30." Subsequently, give some brief information about your background, including the years of experience you have in the field and your highest college degree. Some people mention their job experience and degree in a second paragraph.

Details on Experience

Provide detailed information about your experience in the second or third paragraph, depending on whether you use a separate line to briefly highlight your experience and college degree. Talk about specific projects that you worked on, especially those that relate to the position. Include the results of specific projects, including how much you contributed to company profits, if applicable. Make a positive statement regarding how much you can potentially contribute to the company if you were hired for the job. Use the details of your experience to sell yourself to the person reading your resume.

Ask for the Interview

Use the last paragraph to ask for the interview. Say something like, "In the course of an interview, I would be glad to explain how I could potentially benefit your company as marketing director." Tell the person reading your resume what time of day or week they can best reach you. For example, tell the reader you are available after 6 p.m. on weekdays. Tell the reader how best to reach you, either through you home or cell phone. Skip one line and thank the reader for considering you for the position. Skip two lines and type either "Sincerely," "Sincerely yours," or "Cordially yours," to sign off on the letter. Finally, skip four lines and type your name. Sign the cover letter.

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