University of Houston-Victoria

University College

What to Include in a Cover Letter

Author/Creator:  Breanna Mutschler, June 2013.
Summary:  Describes what to include in a cover letter (job application letter) and how a cover letter should be formatted.
Learning Objectives:  To name the key elements of a cover letter. To describe what should be included in a cover letter. To describe the layout and look of a cover letter.


When you write a cover letter, also known as a job application letter, a few major components are necessary in order to have a good letter.  From a return address to your qualifications, you must include all of the following things in order to get your letter noticed by the hiring office.

 Format

To begin with, make sure to have your return address at the top of the letter along with the date and address of the company that will be receiving the letter.  There is no need to include your name with the return address because your name will be with the closing at the end of the letter.
Place the salutation a few lines below the address of the reader.  Always try to address the letter to a specific person.  Appropriate salutations in this instance include

  • Dear Mr.                              :
  • Dear Mrs.                               :
  • Dear Ms.                              :

 

If the letter is to be addressed to a woman, the best thing to do is to call the office in order to learn what courtesy title she prefers.
If you can find no name and are responding to a blind job advertisement, appropriate salutations include

  • Dear Hiring Manager:
  • Good Morning:
  • To whom it may concern:
  • Dear Sir or Madam:

“Dear Hiring Manager” and “Good Morning” are the strongest choices when replying to a blind advertisement. Make sure to place a colon after the greeting.

Content

The first paragraph is usually considered the introduction.  In this paragraph, state

  • the title of the job you are applying for (and if there is a position number, include it, too)
  • where you found the advertisement
  • the date the advertisement was listed
  • your major qualifications as required by the advertisement (make sure to present them in the same order you will be discussing them in the letter later on)

Note that you have enclosed your resume with the letter so that the reader may refer to it when you talk about your qualifications.

The second paragraph is where you go into more detail about your major qualifications.  In this paragraph

  • discuss your best qualification for the job (educational, previous job experience, or volunteer work) that directly relates to the position you’re applying for
  • detail any other major achievements or qualifications that relate to this position and relate to the major job requirements, as well
  • provide details from your work experience(s) like job tasks and show how you made a difference during your time on the job
  • continue to demonstrate that you have knowledge of the company and what it does on a daily basis (throughout the whole letter)

In the third paragraph

  • talk about secondary qualifications
  • can be teaching philosophy, an approach to a certain situation that comes up during work hours, or anything that separates you from other applicants and is relevant to the job

The final paragraph is considered the conclusion or ending paragraph.  Here

  • thank the reader for reading your letter
  • request an interview
  • include your contact information (cell phone or home phone) and details about your availability.This could be hours if you’re working or have other commitments that may keep you from being available all day.  If the job is in a different place other than your hometown, include the days when you will be in the city in which the job is located.

A few lines below the end of the concluding paragraph type your closing. Some appropriate closings to use include

  • Sincerely,
  • Regards,
  • Yours truly,
  • Yours sincerely,

Remember that the first word of all of these closings should be capitalized.  Make sure to leave a little space before you type your name.  A few lines below your name, type the abbreviation for the word “enclosure” (Encl.) followed by a colon and then the word “resume” for which there is no abbreviation. This will remind the reader that your resume has been enclosed with the cover letter.

 

1611 Oakmont Avenue
Victoria, Texas 77901

May 26, 2013

Austin Moore
Superintendent
Bastrop ISD
636 Tree Lane
Bastrop, TX 78602

Dear Mr. Moore:

Please find enclosed my resume and application for the tenth grade biology teacher position at Bastrop High School. The job-ad was posted on the Bastrop ISD website on May 16th. I have a master’s degree from Texas A&M Corpus Christi in marine biology. I also have a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with secondary teacher and ESL certification from the state of Texas. I bring over twelve years of experience in the education field, and I am positive that my past teaching experiences will help the students at Bastrop High School reach their full potential when it comes to learning about the environment around them.

 

During my time at Texas State, I taught seventh and tenth graders as a student teacher at Doris Miller Middle School and San Marcos High School. After getting my graduate degree, I settled down in the Houston area to teach biology at a local community college. Thirty of my students at Lone Star College went on to receive master degrees and doctoral degrees. Fifteen of those thirty students became marine biologists working to save various coral reefs around the world. After teaching at Lone Star College for four years, I moved to the Hill Country where I taught 7th grade science at San Saba Middle School. Two years later, I took a position at the high school in San Saba teaching aquatic science and advanced placement biology. My students at both San Saba Middle School and San Saba High School had some of the highest scores in science related district and state exams. Out of the ten AP biology classes that I taught at San Saba High School over the time I was teaching there, all but five of my students scored 4 or above on the AP exam.

I am very excited to possibly get the opportunity to work strictly with tenth grade biology students, as this is my true passion because this was the grade when I truly got excited about science and biology. It is my belief that I will be able to help these students better understand the human body and their surroundings so that they not only make good grades but come to think of science as fun. I want to let my students know that science is not all about math and chemical reactions. When I teach, I make sure that the students are not bored and prepare fun activities for the students that will keep them interested in science. I work with my students to make sure they understand each topic that is discussed during class. It is my goal that, through group activities and class discussions, these students will gain a passion for learning science and the drive to continue their education in the science field.Furthermore, I want to help make Bastrop High School one of the top schools in the state of Texas when it comes to students passing the STAAR science exam.

I want to thank you for considering me for the tenth grade biology teacher position at Bastrop High School. I can be reached for an interview at 325-476-8921 any day of the week, and I will be in the Bastrop area next week. I look forward to hearing from you and am excited about the possible opportunity to make Bastrop High School one of the most exciting places to learn science.

Sincerely,

 

Laura Irwin
Encl.: Resume