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Application Letters. Presented by Career Services Clarion University. Purpose of a Cover Letter. Catch the reader’s attention Focus on the employer’s needs Persuade the reader of your benefits or value Convince the reader with evidence Move the reader to follow-up with you …interview you!.

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application letters
Application Letters

Presented by

Career Services

Clarion University

purpose of a cover letter
Purpose of a Cover Letter
  • Catch the reader’s attention
  • Focus on the employer’s needs
  • Persuade the reader of your benefits or value
  • Convince the reader with evidence
  • Move the reader to follow-up with you …interview you!
before you begin to write
Before you begin to write….
  • What are the needs of my audience?
    • Research the employer and position
    • Analyze the job description for knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences required
    • Make a table
      • Employer’s needs vs. your qualifications
before you begin to write4
Before you begin to write…
  • What benefits will my audience gain from me?
    • Create a list of your knowledge, accomplishments, skills, and experience
    • Select the qualifications that relate to the needs of the job to emphasize in your cover letter
targeting employer needs
Employer needs

Budget experience

Accounting coursework

Computer literacy

Community service

Your qualifications

Treasurer, Accounting Club

Accounting major

Specific software

Volunteer for Special Olympics

Targeting Employer Needs
types of cover letters
Types of Cover Letters
  • Letters responding to existing openings
  • Letters mentioning a name or connection
    • Networking or referral letters)
  • Letters inquiring about possible openings
    • As a result of research of organization
letter writing tips
Letter Writing Tips
  • Address your letters to individuals. Use names.
  • Mention your contacts or connections
  • State your objective in the first paragraph
    • Employer: “Why are you writing to me?”
  • Emphasize your skills
tips continued
Tips (continued)
  • Quantify your accomplishments
    • In numbers, dollars, or percentages
  • Focus on the employer’s needs
  • Research the organization and exhibit your knowledge in the letter
  • Use jargon or terms from your career field or “industry”
tips cont
Tips (cont.)
  • Mention something that sets you apart from others
  • Accent your strengths…don’t apologize for limitations
  • Don’t oversell or fib about your qualifications
  • Be professional
  • Show intent to follow up.
  • Limit your letter to one page
  • Make your letter easy to read
    • One-inch margins
    • Simple fonts
    • Good visual organization
  • Use business stationery matching your resume paper
format cont
Format (cont.)
  • Organize your information
    • Opening paragraph
    • “Qualifications” paragraph/s
    • Closing paragraph
  • Use standard business-letter format
  • Proofread…proofread…proofread!
content 1 st paragraph
Content – 1st paragraph
  • Tell the reader why you are writing
    • Are you applying to an advertised or existing opening?
    • Are you writing to inquire about available positions?
    • Did someone refer you to the reader or organization?
  • Indicate how your learned of the position and/or organization

Example 1

I am applying for the analytical chemist position that was advertised in the March issue of the American Chemical Society newsletter. I am interested in research and development and would like to relocate to the Philadelphia area.

example 2
Example 2

I noticed your school’s listing in the AAEE Directory of Public School Systems. I am interested in moving to the Richmond area, and I am seeking employment with school systems there. I hope you can assist me.

content 2 nd paragraph
Content – 2nd paragraph
  • Explain why you have targeted this particular organization
  • Stress what your have to offer
  • Identify the parts of your experience (paid or non-paid) that relate to position
    • Course work or special class projects
    • Campus activities
    • Internships or field experiences
2 nd paragraph cont
2nd paragraph (cont.)
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the position’s duties
  • State how your qualifications fit the position
content 3 rd paragraph
Content – 3rd paragraph
  • Request an interview appointment, or tell the reader that you will contact him/her soon in order to see if you can schedule a mutually convenient appointment.
  • Indicate when you would be available for an interview.
3 rd paragraph cont
3rd paragraph (cont.)
  • Include information on how the reader can easily contact you.
  • Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.
letter do s
Letter “Do’s”
  • Write an original letter for each employer and position
  • Proofread for typos
  • Run Spell Check on your computer before you print your final copy
  • Have someone else proof read your letter
do s cont
“Do’s” (cont.)
  • Type or computer print envelopes
  • Keep photocopies of all materials for your records
Use standard 8.5” x 11” paper

Select 20 lb. bond paper in white or ivory to match your resume

Follow standard business letter format

Limit your letter to one page

Keep a one-inch margin on all four sides of the page

Single space between paragraphs

  • A free handout on cover letter writing
    • Online at
  • Books with sample cover letters
  • A three-ring binder with sample cover letters written by Clarion graduates
  • Staff members who can review a rough draft of your application letter
  • Computers with Microsoft Word and a laser printer
    • Please bring your own paper
additional questions
Additional questions?
  • The Career Services staff will be happy to respond to your application or cover letter questions.
  • Contact us at 814-393-2323 or visit 114 Egbert Hall to schedule an appointment.