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Q & A on Cover Letters

What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A cover letter is a transmittal document that accompanies the resume and gives
essential information about you to entice and aid the resume read in making a
decision on how to handle your resume. Your cover letter gives some indication of your
ability to communicate.
What should be included in a cover letter?

Your letter should include:

  1. How you found out about the job;
  2. Which job you are applying for(position title);
  3. Why you are interested in working for this employer;
  4. What are some of your key qualifications; and
  5. Request an interview for the position.
Should I send my cover letter as part of the body of the email or as an attachment?
It is best to send it as part of the body of the email, since it is less likely to get opened or read as an attachment.
Are cover letters more of a “thing of the past?”
No. Cover letters are still viewed as a necessity by HR personnel and hiring managers.
A cover letter can help “set you apart”. Employers need to know how you communicate in writing and a cover letter can provide that example. A cover letters shows how you put sentences together, whether your punctuation is correct and if your grammar is appropriate. Look at the cover letter as a way to convince the hiring manager to consider you for the job.
Does a cover letter just repeat information given on your resume?
No. A resume is more of a list of your accomplishments whereas a cover letter links those accomplishments to what the hiring company is looking for in that position. Focus on what the company is asking for and then indicate what you can bring to that position. How can you be a benefit to the company in that job? Remember, cover letters are really a sales tool and a well written one can give you an advantage.
Has the internet made cover letters almost obsolete?
No. The internet has changed the process of submitting cover letters but not the need for them. While applying via email or through an organization’s web site is changing the format—shorter and less formal—the content and the style, grammar and punctuation are still very important elements.

Sources: Balderrama, A., (2009). Do you still need a cover letter? Retrieved February 7, 2009, from
Society for Human Resource Management, (2002) Frequently asked questions about
resumes and cover letters. Jack Huxtable. Retrieved from http:www.shrm.org.


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