Posted by: Sarah Kemp | January 22, 2010

Cover Letter & Resume Tips

In my PR Practicum class, one of our assignments is to create a resume package. As most everyone knows, many resume packages include a cover letter to briefly describe more than your resumé can include, as well as thank the employer for even reading your resumé. I found many helpful websites that had great information regarding this topic. One of them was from the Virgina Tech Career Services.

The explanation that they gave was in the format of “All cover letters should”… Here is what they suggested to always include in a cover letter, and to never send a resume without a cover letter!

Explain why you are sending a resume:

  • Don’t make the reader guess what you are asking for!
  • Summer internship opportunity?
  • Permanent position at graduation?
  • Future employment possibilities?

Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization:

  • Flyer posted in your department, a web site, a family friend who works at the organization
    • It is proper to mention the name of someone who suggested that you write.

Convince the reader to look at your resumé:

  • The cover letter will be seen first!
    • Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.

Call attention to elements of your background:

  • Eeducation, leadership, experience — that are relevant to a position you are seeking
  • Be as specific as possible! (use examples)

Extra things that are great too:

  1. Reflect your attitude, personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.
  2. Provide or refer to any information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing sample.

Indicate what you will do to follow-up:

In a letter of application — applying for an advertised opening — applicants often say something like “I look forward to hearing from you.” However, if you have further contact info (e.g. phone number) and if the employer hasn’t said “no phone calls,” it’s better to take the initiative to follow-up, saying something like, “I will contact you in the next two weeks to see if you require any additional information regarding my qualifications.”

In a letter of inquiry — asking about the possibility of an opening — don’t assume the employer will contact you. You should say something like, “I will contact you in two weeks to learn more about upcoming employment opportunities with (name of organization).”  Then mark your calendar to make the call.

I thought that this information was very helpful to someone who would be writing a cover letter and resume, especially a college student. It covered all areas that are typically included in these pieces and also provided examples of cover letter layouts on their website. Thank you VT!


  1. I think that it is great to reflect your attitude in the cover letter because they will get a glimpse of your personality. Since a resume only says what you have done, a cover letter can really help you out. Those are great tips!

  2. I agree with Marilyn, those are some great tips and the fact that you brought up the idea that this is a chance for your future employer to get a glimpse of what your personality is like is a great reason to write a cover letter. I also liked how you put the image into your post. I’m going to have to figure out how to do that. Your tips are very helpful and insightful. Oh and the examples that you listed after you were explaining exactly what to do was a good idea! All around good job!

  3. LOVE THIS POST!!! I really liked how you set it up. I will admit I get so bored sometimes when I have to read posts because they are just one long paragraph. But the way that you bolded and bulleted different topics really helped me to keep reading and stay engaged. As for the actual information, I thought you had some very interesting and insightful stuff for us bloggers to use in the near future! The image was also a great boost to show us exactly what it should look like. Overall, a WONDERFUL post! Look forward to reading more of yours!

  4. […] […]

  5. I enjoyed your post. Originally, I never thought of a cover letter a way to show a future employer. However, you made an excellent point when you mentioned it. I agree that it is important to show who you are as a person not just and employee.

  6. Your blog on cover letters and resume tips is wonderful. It is very well organized, well-written and most importantly helpful. I agree that it is important to have a cover letter that is effective in creating interest in looking at your resume. Employers definitely have a lot of resume’s come across there desk, so setting ourselves apart from the rest is key. Also the call to attention the elements of your background section is interesting and holds true too! I think you touching on reflecting ones personality, motivation, enthusiasm and communication skills is very good advice as well Thanks for the helpful information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: