In an earlier article, we began discussing proper formatting for cover letters. At this point, we will start getting into the nuts and bolts of a well-crafted, effective cover letter.
The Basics – Getting Off To a Good Start When Writing Cover Letters
By now, you should be well familiar with the basics of proper formatting when it comes to cover letters or any other kind of business correspondence. It needs to be short, sweet and to-the-point, with no more than four or five paragraphs of 3-4 sentences each; convention dictates the use of a 1” margin on all sides; it should be addressed to a specific person, using that person’s specific title – or “Mr./Ms.” at the very least. However, the body of the letter is preceded by other necessary information i.e., the date and all contact information.
How It’s Done
Here’s a good example of just how a properly formatted cover letter should begin:
Ms. Betty Rubble
123 Granite Drive
Bedrock, NH 08978
Dr. Jane Jetson, Chairperson
Spacely University Science Dept.
7169 Orbit Parkway
Houston, TX 72813
October 3, 20__
Dear Dr. Jetson:
Please accept this letter as indicative of my intent to apply for the job
Note that the return address is at the very top and on the left side of the page. Note also that this return address includes all of Ms. Rubble’s contact information, not just her mailing address.
Chances are that if Dr. Jetson is interested in contacting Ms. Rubble for an interview, she will want to make certain Ms. Rubble is notified as soon as possible. Most often, this notification is made by telephone; however, more often today, it is done via e-mail as well.
There is another reason for including an email address.
Just as the good Senator McCain’s lack of familiarity with this most basic form of modern communication technology raised a few eyebrows among the electorate, so too would the lack of an e-mail address suggest to a potential employer that the applicant is perhaps deficient in his/her knowledge and familiarity not only with email but with computers and the Internet in general.
In a day and age in which computers are used in virtually everything from space shuttles to toasters, discomfort and unfamiliarity with the simplest technology will easily give a prospective employer the wrong impression.