Before you begin writing your cover letter, you must first decide on a career type as your cover letter will defend why you are qualified for the position you are applying. A helpful way to get started is to complete a Career Objective Worksheet. This worksheet asks the following questions:
A cover letter should accompany your résumé in order to personalize your contact with a prospective employer. Your cover letter and résumé complement each other and work together as a team. Your cover letter is just as important as your résumé but has a different focus. While your résumé describes your major qualifications for a certain type of work, your cover letter further details why you are qualified for one or several specific positions within a particular organization and why you are interested in working at this organization. Your cover letter should be targeted to emphasize selected, relevant information for each different position and organization.
To plan a persuasive cover letter, it is best to research the specific position and organization so that you know what qualifications are required. Read available literature in the Career Planning and Placement Office and the library. Carefully analyze the advertisement or job description, if available. Talk with employees within the organization and other professionals in similar positions. Finally, you may write or call the prospective employer to request further information, if necessary.
Taken from "The Seven Deadly Sins of Cover Letters" by Deborah Flores
For best results, you should use a form or format that reflects the particular demands or requirements of your own job targets and work history. Although there are many variations in format, there are basically three main types of résumés: Chronological, Functional, and Targeted.
Work experience and personal history are arranged in reverse time sequence, with the most recent job history first. Titles and organizations are emphasized and accomplishments within those titles described.
Best Used: When your career direction is clear and the job target is directly in line with your work history or the name of your last employer adds strong prestige.
This format highlights major areas of accomplishment and strength and allows you to organize them in an order that most supports your work objectives and job targets. Actual titles and work history are in a subordinate position and sometimes left off entirely.
Best Used: In cases of career change or re-direction, first-job search, or reentry into the job market. Effective when you wish to play up a particularly strong area of ability.
This format is best for focusing on a clear, specific job target (you would have a different one for each target). It lists future-related capabilities and supporting accomplishments that relate to a clear job target.
Best Used: When you are clear about your job targets and what they require
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline
© 2007–17 Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1011 South Drive, Indiana, Pa. 15705 | 724-357-2100