Public Personnel

Preparing Professional Cover Letters
The purpose of a cover letter is:
• to lead the reader to want to know more about you and the potential fit between your skills and interests and the needs of their organization. Cover letters encourage the employer to read beyond the letter to your resume, and ultimately, to contact you to request additional information or to arrange a phone or in-person interview. to demonstrate your writing and communication skills.

Good cover letters:
• • • are targeted to a specific position or organization and reflect your research of the organization. are balanced in content between demonstrating your interest in the position and your ability to do the job (with specific examples to support your claims). highlight the fit between your skills and background and the needs/requirements of the position. Past performance is the best indicator of future success. Show the employer that you have done similar work or have used similar skills (even if on different policy issues). Employers will be looking for such ‘transferable’ skills. They will be reading your materials to see if you demonstrate (from your stated interest in the position and your skills/experiences) the potential to do the job and/or to grow into it. are written for the READER, which means they emphasize why you are a good fit for the employer, not why the employer is a good fit for you. This is known as WIIFM…What’s In It For Me (where ‘me’ is the employer reading your letter). This difference in tone and emphasis separate strong covers letters from mediocre (or weak) ones. In other words, your letter should not be about what the employer can do for you but about what you can do for the employer. See the Africa Fund sample letter to read this difference in tone. are grammatically correct and typo free…and have been proofread by many people! are well formatted (with readable fonts and at least 1 inch side margins) and printed on good quality paper. whenever possible, should...