Types of Cover Letters
Depending on the
type of job posting to which you are responding, there are generally three types
of cover letters: those sent to a specified person (i.e. the hiring manager),
those sent in response to a "blind" advertisement (i.e. only a P.O.
Box or a job-reference number is provided), and those sent to recruiters.
Depending on the situation,
there are certain things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your
to: Cover Letters Sent to a
Specific Person | Cover
Letters Sent in Response to a "Blind" Posting | Cover Letters Sent to Recruiters |
Cover Letters Sent to a Specific Person
Use the information you
have to your best advantage.
- When you have the hiring manager's name, use it in the
salutation — without exception. This personalizes the letter and shows
attention to detail on your part.
- In the opening paragraph, be sure to state the job for
which you're applying, as a hiring manager may post numerous openings in a
- In the body of your cover letter, detail all of the
qualifications and skills you have that relate to this new job opening.
Cover Letters Sent in
Response to a "Blind" Posting
Newspaper ads often request
that you send resumes and cover letters to a P.O. Box, with no indication of
the company's name or hiring manager's identity. Similarly, job reference
numbers are often the only identification provided in an online posting. When
this is the case, keep the following in mind:
- Showcase your experience and qualification as they
relate to the new position.
- Rather than using "Dear Sir or Madam," or
even worse, "To Whom It May Concern" — drop the salutation
altogether. Instead, write: “Re: Job Reference #” or Re: “Assistant Store
- After that reference, leave a blank line, and then
begin the cover letter's first paragraph.
Cover Letters Sent to Recruiters
Companies hire recruiters
to find the appropriate employee for a certain position. Because of this, your
cover letter must be clear about your preferred industry and position, your travel
or relocation preferences, and your salary considerations (if they’re
negotiable, include this information).
The remainder of your cover
letter will contain the same data as a cover letter you would send to a hiring
manager or a "blind" posting — that is, you should include your
skills and qualifications as they relate to your preferred industry and
position. In this case, though, you will be selling yourself to a recruiter,
rather than to a hiring manager.