Getting the Job Part 2: Cover Letter & Resume


Cover letters and resumes often go hand in hand when applying for a job so this post is dedicated to how they should be done.

Cover Letters:

  • Cover letters should be concise (less than a full-page) and tailored to the particular company you are applying for. If the same cover letter can be used for various companies, it’s not specific enough.
  • The cover letter should not summarize your resume-that’s what your resume is for. Instead, the cover letter should only briefly touch on highlights of the resume and leave the details to the resume itself.
  • The cover letter should express a genuine personal interest in working for the company with specifics on why. A good cover letter also provides information about the applicant that the resume can’t provide, such as personal traits and work habits or a gap in employment history.
  • Reference previous phone calls with the hiring authority.
  • Quantify achievements using numbers, statistics and percentages.
  • Focus on what you can do for the company, not on your own needs.
  • Tell the company why they need to hire you.

Example #1:

Dear Ms. Smith:

I hope you will consider me for the position of staff writer, as advertised in The Washington Post.

I was particularly excited to see a position open at the Sierra Club, as I have long been a fan of your work. I’m impressed by the way you make environmental issues accessible to non-environmentalists (particularly in the pages of Sierra Magazine, which has sucked me in more times than I can count), and I would love the opportunity to be part of your work.

Reading over the job description for the position, I recognized myself. As you will see on my attached resume, I have more than seven years’ experience in non-profits, writing everything from newsletters to Web sites to brochures to letters to the editor and op-eds. In addition to in-house publications, my work has been published in newspapers around the country.

Additionally, I am a fast, versatile writer, and I specialize in taking complicated information and presenting it in an easy-to-understand, upbeat format. I’ve never missed a deadline (in a recent performance review, my manager called me “the fastest writer on the planet”) and pride myself on being able to juggle many different projects. My copy-editing skills border on the obsessive-compulsive; I have been known to correct mistakes on restaurant menus!

I think my skills and experience are an excellent match with what you are seeking, and I am excited about the chance to work with you.

If you would like to talk with me or schedule an interview, please call me at 555-555-1212. Thank you for your consideration.


Jane Doe –

Example #2:

Dear [Mr. Smith]:

I am writing in response to the opening for xxxx, which I believe may report to you.

I can offer you seven years of experience managing communications for top-tier xxxx firms, excellent project-management skills, and a great eye for detail, all of which should make me an ideal candidate for this opening.

I have attached my résumé for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

Best regards,



  • Resumes should be concise (only one page) & very specific.
  • Should include you name, address, phone number, and a professional email address.
  • Should include an objective statement or a career summary. The objective statement is better if you have no previous employment history or are a recent graduate. The downfall for objectives is that they are centered on the applicant and don’t tell the employer why they should hire you over someone else. An example of an objective is, “Seeking challenging sales position with an innovative employer where I can utilize my creativity and strong interpersonal skills.” Career summaries are much more detailed and a way of saying, “Look, here is what I can bring to the table and do for the company. This is why you need me.” An example of a career summary is, “Innovative, highly motivated executive with a consistent history of generating new revenue and exceeding competitive sales goals.  Proven track record for leading profitable projects from start to finish and for building strong relationships with senior executives.
    • Regardless of which one you use, both objectives and career summaries should be short. Objectives should be between 1-2 sentences, summaries between 2-3.
    • Summaries should focus on the positive impact and results of your work, not what you were responsible for as this will be explained under your work history.
    • Should be tailored to the specific position you are applying for.
  • Focus on experience relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  • Do not include any information over ten years old, unless you’ve spent the last ten or so years at the same company.
  • Include your previous employers, positions held, and the beginning month/year to the ending month/year for which you worked for them (May 2009 – November 2012).
    • Bullet point your duties and responsibilities & always begin each bullet with a verb
    • Put in reverse chronological order: most recent positions to the oldest
  • Include the college(s) you attended, the years you attended, and the degree, major, and minor you obtained. If you are still in college, include your expected graduation month/year.
    • Also in reverse chronological order.
  • Do not include references on your resume. If the employer wants references, they will request them. However, you should still have references prepared so create a separate document dedicated to your references and have it available with your resume. There is no need to have “References available upon request” on your resume.
  • Don’t make your resume over the top. It should be plain and straightforward.



You can use resume templates such as these to guide you.



It may be helpful to use a resume template as you type your resume. Don’t staple your cover letter, resume, and references. Keep them safe in a portfolio specifically for job application materials.


About Sierra

I'm an accounting major at Texas State University with a passion for all things international. I'm going to learn Russian, Portuguese, Italian, and possibly German one day. I've been speaking Spanish for 8 years and my dream is to one day travel across Latin America. DREAM Act 2015!

Posted on March 4, 2013, in Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I tend not to create a ton of responses, however i did some searching and wound up here Getting the Job Part 2:
    Cover Letter & Resume | collegemindset. And I actually do
    have some questions for you if you usually do not mind.
    Is it simply me or does it appear like a few of the comments look like they
    are left by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on other online sites, I would like to keep up with anything new you
    have to post. Could you make a list of every one of all your community pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or
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    • Thank you for reading my blog! I would love to answer your questions. I actually have another blog to document my college experience. You can find the link for both that blog and my twitter account in the menu, or you can just click this link. The link to my LinkedIn profile is here. Once again, thank you for your interest and for reading my blog.

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