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The nation's largest network of college job seekers. October 31, 2014
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The Basics: Cover Letters Uncovered

It may be cold, but the fact is, when you're job hunting, you're selling a "product" and that "product" is you. You've got to make the prospective employer want your services. A cover letter gives you the chance to make that happen.

Whenever possible, address the letter to a specific person. If you've done your homework (checked the company's Web site, or library resources, etc.) you should be able to accomplish this. However, if you're replying to a blind ad that only lists a box number, use Dear Recruiter as your addressee. Other introductions you can use if you absolutely cannot identify a specific person are: Human Resources Director, Director/Manager of (fill in department you are seeking employment). When you can identify a specific person be sure to check for the correct spelling of their name and their title.

Right up front, state why you're writing, the position you're interested in, and if applicable, say who referred you or how you found out about the job opening. Then give the employer information about when you graduated, your degree and your school (you never know when you'll encounter a fellow alum). Also include information about your current situation and when you would be available to start.

After you get those basics out of the way, you can begin your "pitch." Explain what interests you most about the position. General comments, such as "I like to work with people," don't help your case. Be specific. It's one of the ways you can set yourself apart from the other candidates. Briefly describe any extracurricular activities or previous jobs that helped you develop skills "xyz" which are relevant to the posted position. One or two examples like this should be fine.

Close with a thank you and remember to ask for an interview.

Sample of a Cover Letter

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