- Your name should be in bold 14- or 16-point font.
- Your address and other contact information should be in normal 12-point font.
- The font of your letterhead does not need to be Arial or Times New Roman, like the rest of your letter, but it should be professional looking and easy to read. The most important thing to remember is to include up-to-date information so that you make it easy for the employer to contact you.
- You may want to include an extra line under the letterhead to create visual appeal and to separate the letterhead from the rest of the letter.
- From here on out, use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman throughout the entire letter, set your margins to one inch, and use single spacing. Be sure your font is black, and if you're printing your letter out, use standard-sized paper (8 1/2” by 11”).
Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure who the recipient is, write, “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; however, it is always best to address a cover letter to a real person to make it look like you’re not sending form letters.
- You don't necessarily need to include how you became aware of the position unless it was through a mutual contact or recruiting program—in which case you should make the most of the connection.
- If you are writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or inquiry letter) in which you are asking about positions that might be available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer.
- Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter accordingly. This will also be useful if you get an interview. Some questions to keep in mind as you write are
- What is the employer's mission? What do they promote as the one thing that sets them apart from their competitors?
- What kind of customer base does the employer have? Who is their target audience?
- What is the company's history? Who founded it? How has the business evolved? What are the main highlights of the company's performance over the past few years?
Include a positive statement or question in the final paragraph that will motivate the employer to contact you. Make this closing paragraph between two and four sentences. Direct the employer to your enclosed resume and make sure you specify that you're available for an interview. Finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration, and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation.
Write an appropriate closing. It’s a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time. After that, write “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” or “Regards,” leave several spaces, and print your name.
Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter digitally, it’s a good idea to scan and add your signature, write it in with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with appropriate software.
Make a notation of the enclosures. If you enclose something, such as a resume, with a letter, you should indicate that the letter contains enclosures by making the notation “Enclosure” or “Enclosures” at the bottom of the letter.
Student Planning Guide
Sample Cover Letter
While looking for service sites abroad, it may be useful to have a cover letter and resume handy so that potential service sites can view your request and begin to formally discuss your options.
A cover letter should only be one page long, and should demonstrate what your resume may not, like personal values, motivation for serving, or interest in the issue or study abroad location. Here is an example:
Insert Your Name Here
Insert Address • Insert Phone Number • Insert E-Mail Address
Name of Contact Person (If Applicable)
Contact Person’s Position (If Applicable)
Name of Organization
To Whom It May Concern: (state name of contact person if known)
My name is [name] from [state, country]. I am a student at [college] and am planning on spending [this much time] in [chosen abroad location].
I did some research about your organization and am interested in the work that you do. [Highlight some aspects of the organization that interest you. Then, write about your passions/growth/experiences that have led you to be interested in the same issue area that the organization works with].
I am writing to inquire about potential service opportunities. While I am in [chosen abroad location], I would love to volunteer with your organization.
In my home university, I engage in 10 hours of service per week with an organization in my university community. I do this not only because I enjoy serving the community, but also because I am a Bonner Scholar/Leader. The Bonner Program has enabled me to go to college while at the same time providing me with service opportunities. I would like to continue serving while abroad, which is why I have contacted you.
I have attached my resume to this [email, fax, etc] so you can have a better understanding of my previous service experiences.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience at [e-mail, fax, or phone number] so we may discuss the various service opportunities your organization may offer. Or, let me know how and when to best contact you I look forward to speaking with you and learning more about the work that you do.
Thank you for your consideration.
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