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Resumes and Cover Letters: What an Employer Looks For
The Cover Letter: Your Sales Pitch
Cover & Thank You Letters

If your resume is a physical representation of your skills, your cover letter's main goal is to get the employer interested enough to look at your resume. You will need to quickly and concisely explain the specific reasons why you are a prime candidate for the position.

Cover Letter Sample

Cover Letter Format
  • Use a maximum of three, single-spaced paragraphs
  • Match the font style and size to your resume
  • Address the letter to a specific person, using their name and title if possible
  • Email is acceptable, but your message must be formatted like a formal letter
  • Tailor your cover letter to a specific position and company. Do not send a generic cover letter.
  • Highlight specific reasons why you would be a great fit for the company and the position
  • Do not simply restate your resume
  • Focus on what you will bring to the company, not why you want the job
  • Highlight your specific experiences and skills that match what the employer is seeking
  • Read your letter out loud, check for errors, reread again. Make it flawless!
  • Enclose your updated resume and references, if requested
  • If salary requirements are requested, include that your salary qualifications are commensurate with industry standards, or simply provide a reasonable salary range, pointing out that you are willing to negotiate in order to continue being considered for the position
  • Be sure to include your contact information (full name, email and phone number)
Cover Letter

Want hands-on help with your cover letter? Make an appointment with one of Mercy College's Career Counselors today.

Your resume and cover letter are two of your most important resources during your job search. Sooner or later, however, you will start interacting with employers. Whether it's to ask questions, discuss potential job openings, inquire about interviews, or simply to thank an employer for their time, you always want to remain professional and courteous.

Thank You Letter

If you spoke with an employer on the phone or met in person, be sure to follow up with a thank you letter within 24-48 hours of your meeting. Include a few specifics from your conversation, as those will help remind the employer about the conversation, and express your interest in the position and company. Keep your letter fairly short, though be sure to briefly emphasize your enthusiasm for the position, as well as your related skills. An email is acceptable, but must be well written and error free.

Reference List

At some point, you may be asked to submit a list of references. These should be individuals in a position of authority who worked directly with you and have accurate knowledge of your work or study habits. Do not use friends or relatives as references. Instead, look to present and previous supervisors from internships or summer jobs, professors, faculty, advisors and mentors.

Contact your references first to make sure they are okay with being listed. If so, provide each reference with the most recent copy of your resume, in case they need any refreshing when discussing your skills to an employer.