||LEO: Literacy Education Online|
Presenting Yourself Persuasively
General Purposes of Cover Letters
In general, the purpose of cover letters is to interest prospective
employers enough so they call to schedule an interview. To fulfill this
purpose, you'll need to target each cover letter to a specific company
and position, showing how your background and abilities fulfill
particular company needs.
Generic letters written to prospective employers are not enough. Those
hiring will see such general letters for what they are: they'll realize
that you haven't invested much time or effort in researching their
company and writing an individual letter. And they probably won't invest
their time by interviewing you.
You'll find that time spent to research the company, to determine how
you're going to peak your readers' interest, and to write a letter
convincing a prospective employer that your background matches company
needs is well worth the effort.
Particular Purposes and Information
Cover letters are sales letter. Essentially, you're targeting your
credentials to a particular market -- one company -- and persuading that
company to make the buy. To fulfill this overall purpose, you'll need to
achieve several goals in your letter:
- Your letter should provide readers with some insight into you as
an individual. Draft your letter in a way that shows how you as an
individual will fit into the organization.
- Use key terms from the ad or job description that are clearly
relevant to your background.
- Structure your letter so that each part achieves these particular
Three sample cover letters are available:
- In the opening paragraph of your letter, clarify your purpose in
writing and build reader interest.
- The body of your letter will need to persuade the reader that you
have skills and abilities useful for the company.
- The closing of your letter should request an interview as well as a
strong reminder of the benefit to the prospective employer of scheduling
General cover letter tips are also
More general resume information -- General Resume
Tips -- offers an overview of resume writing, including
explanations of the major areas on a resume, writing tips, and sample
For questions and suggestions, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 The Write Place
This handout was written by Judith Kilborn for
the Write Place, St. Cloud State University and may be copied for
educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our
copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add
your name to the list of writers.
Last update: 6 July 1998