Search for Schools
MBA Programs » MBA Career » The Cover Letter

The Cover Letter

Always send a cover letter with your resume. It's a chance to fill in the blanks left by your resume, and to impress the person reading it -- a recruiter or hiring manager -- with your passion, drive and abilities.

Like your resume, each cover letter should be tailored to the company and the job to which you are applying. Even if you are applying to the same type of job at several companies, every workplace is different. You need to convey your understanding of the company's goals, and how you can help them meet those goals. But while you don't want to use one standard letter for all job applications, there will doubtless be similarities among them. You just may want to alter which aspects of your experience you highlight, and add in some recent developments at the company that might be relevant. This also shows the person reading it that you genuinely are interested in this specific position.

Cover letter salutation and introduction

In the old days, everyone would advise you to send a cover letter and resume directly to the hiring manager, using whatever resources you could to find out his/her name and direction. This is still good advice, but many companies today request that applicants submit their resume and other documentation through the company website. In that case, you have no idea who will be reading your cover letter. Dear Hiring Manager is a good generic salutation. You should still, however, make an effort to find the specific hiring manager or recruiter for that position and email him or her directly with the text of your cover letter and your resume attached to the email.

Space is limited (a cover letter should never be more than one page, and preferably just 3-4 paragraphs), so just briefly state the job you are applying for (including the job title and a reference number, if there is one) and how you heard about it -- if you have a personal connection to the company, like a friend or former colleague working there who might speak well of you, this is the place to mention it.

Sell yourself

To drive home the message that you would be the perfect hire for this company, scrutinize the job description. What are the key attributes or skill sets that they are looking for? Don't just parrot statements from your resume (like "I am proficient in Microsoft Powerpoint"), but describe achievements that illustrate how you fit the profile.

Finishing touches

Conclude by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to read your application, and say that you look forward to hearing from them. Make sure to check spelling, grammar and layout. The letter should also be in the same font as your resume.

Back to: MBA Career Tools