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The Riley Guide: Resumes & Cover Letters

Cover Letters & Other Correspondence


We also have information on References and Recommendations.
More helpful information can be found under Job Search Advice

Writing Cover Letters

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These also include other forms of correspondence that could be useful to your search.
Cover Letter Guides
...prepared by Susan Ireland, a resume and job-search expert, this includes a workshop on preparing these documents long with several samples for you to peruse. You may also want to check out her Ready-Made Cover Letters, a software package that includes instructions on writing job-search correspondence, numerous samples for you to peruse, and numerous templates you can use to create your own letters. Be sure to check out the many how-to YouTube videos Susan has added to her site. Short (under 2 minutes) and very interesting.
The ABCs of Great Cover Letters: Simple Steps to Increase Impact and Effectiveness, Louise Kursmark (yourbestimpression.com) [PDF]
"Don’t let cover letters be a roadblock preventing your search from moving forward. These easy A-B-C-D-E steps will lead you through the process of writing good cover letters quickly." This is a PDF document that requires a free PDF viewer like Adobe or Foxit for display.
Business Letters, The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"This handout will help you write business letters required in many different situations, from applying for a job to requesting or delivering information. While the examples that are discussed specifically are the application letter and cover letter, this handout also highlights strategies for effective business writing in general." Yes, they make a distinction between application letters and cover letters and provide examples of both. Terrific!
Cover Letters and Other Job Search Correspondence
...several PDF handouts from the Career Services center at Bellevue University (NE) with tips, suggestions, and samples of cover letters, thank you letters, and even acceptance and rejection letters for you to review.
E-mail Guidelines and Etiquette in Your Job Search (and on the job, and in life generally)
...written by the folks who run the Career Services at Virginia Tech, this is a marvelous guide to email communications for all (not just students!). It's divided into 2 general sections -- What's okay to send and How to send it / e-mail business etiquette -- with each covering several topics like First Contact, Responding, Your E-mail Alias ("sexgod" is not so good), and even Naming Attachments ("RRobertsResume.doc" instead of "MyRes2948.doc"). Since more and more of our job search applications are taking place via email, I am urging you to read this before hitting 'Send'. I'd also like you to go over to my section on The Art of Netiquette and read those materials too.
Writing Effective Letters Guide, Florida State University Career Center
..includes tips on a variety of cover letters as well as Interview Appreciation, Letter of Acceptance, and Letter Of Declination.
Cover Letters for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy (IDG Books)
I personally think this is one of the best things done by Joyce. The advice is witty and entertaining but right on the mark. A definite must-read from the Grand Dame of the Job Search!

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Sample Cover Letters

Cover-Letters.com
...compiled by Bill Frank, a career management consultant in Colorado, this is a collection of "1,001+ FREE Cover Letter Examples for Consultants, Career Changers, and Job Hunters." Yes, Bill has had a similar resource available online for quite some time, but he's moved it to a new location AND given us free access to the full collection (Thanks, Bill!), Start by choosing your letter category (Cover Letters or Consulting Letters) and then drill down the menus to find the samples that best fit your needs.
50+ Cover Letters
...a nice collection courtesy of Susan Ireland. Be sure to check out the many how-to YouTube videos Susan has added to her site. Short (under 2 minutes) and very interesting.
Open Cover Letters
"Anonymous cover letters from hired librarians and archivists." Yes, this is a collection of actual cover letters submitted by persons seeking work in these fields who were actually hired. These letters were submitted by the authors, and all of the personally-identifiable information has been retracted, so you cannot tell who was hired and where. What you can see is the enthusiasm, personal sales and marketing pitch, and specific qualification and experience match that put these authors at the top of the candidate list. Check the categories to the side because not every letter in here is for a "library" position. There are a few blanks yet, so if you have a successful letter you used that can serve as a sample to others, please submit it. This site is managed by Stephen X. Flynn of the College of Wooster.
A Cover Letter Example (AmazeYourself.net)
...nice example of a cover letter with commentary on what you want to accomplish in each section of the letter. One of many good articles and resource examples provided by Keri Coffman-Thiede, career coach and owner of Amaze Yourself Coaching.
Resumes & Letters (Monster.com Career Advice)
...some sample cover letters covering different situations (Follow Up, General Inquiry, General Inquiry with Reference, Military to Civilian Transition, Networking, and Thank you.) They also have samples of Recommendation and Resignation letters. To

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Thank You Letters!

Thank You Letter Samples
Get ideas for how to say “thank you” by taking a look at these thank you emails, notes, and hardcopy letters for a job interview, job offer, job rejection, informational interview, and to friends for their help. They are divided into categories by their different strategies (thank you for the interview, the job offer, the rejection, etc.).
Formula for Job Search Thank You Email, Susan Ireland (joblounge.blogspot.com)
Short but very useful step-by-step guide to writing that note to the interviewer right after the interview.
Say "Thank You" With Class, Bill Frank (Cover-Letters.com)
Numerous sample "thank you" notes and letters. As Bill Frank says, "A job-search is a public relations campaign. The idea is to get others to like you so they will hire you directly or refer you to their friends. The sooner you build good relationships, the sooner you'll be hired, and the words "thank you" create good will."

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I Quit! How to Resign (somewhat gracefully)

Quitting Your Job, Alison Doyle (About.com)
As much as I'm sure you would love to just pull the Emergency Exit and slide your way outta this place, that is not always the best way to go, especially since you will probably need a reference of some type. This section of About.com includes advice on quitting gracefully, writing a letter of resignation, reasons to quit (yes, you should think about it), and quitting by phone or email (not recommended, but still offered). What if you are asked to resign? (ouch) Yes, that is also covered.

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Farewell: Writing Goodbye Letters

I want to thank Sylvia A. Schulman, Business Librarian at the Westport Public Library in Westport, CT, for not only suggesting this topic but also sending me this list of very good resources.
How to Say Goodbye: Saying Farewell to Co-Workers, Alison Doyle, About.com
"You have found a new job and you're ready to give two weeks notice to your current employer. Or, you've lost your job. What's the best way to say goodbye?" Alison gives you some excellent suggestions for creating a letter of resignation, or if you have been laid off, a letter of good bye along with continued contact info so people can keep in touch. She also provides links to numerous examples of resignation and goodbye letters for you to review and copy for your own personal use.
How to Write a Letter of Resignation, Alison Doyle, About.com
"When writing a resignation letter, it's important to keep your resignation letter as simple, brief, and focused as possible. It should also be positive."
Farewell Letter Template: Goodbye to Co-Workers, Alison Doyle, About.com
Use this farewell letter template to say goodbye to co-workers and to let them know that you are leaving your job.
Goodbye Letter Sample, WritingHelp-Central.com
Nice letter you can copy and customize. It is geared more for distribution to colleagues, not necessarily close friends, and the situation is a voluntary separation.
Sample Goodbye Emails to Colleagues, Careerbright Blog
A really wonderful collection of sample emails to send to various colleagues based on the relationship you share (your manager, your reports, etc.). This blog is done by Shweta Khare, a Certified Career Coach based in San Jose, CA.

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Submitting Writing Samples to Employers

Submitting writing samples to potential employers has always been part of the interview process for those in creative writing and law fields, but this exercise is filtering into other fields as well.

General Guidelines || Writing Samples for Law Students

General Guidelines

Guidelines for Writing Samples (PDF)
...a short set of instructions for anyone asked to provide a writing sample for a potential employer as part of an interview. From the Career Development Center at the University of Richmond (VA). I urge folks to review more of the great Resumes & Resources Guides available on their website. They are very good.
How to Send Employers A Solid Writing Sample, Lily Garcia (washingtonpost.com)
Some simple guidelines for submitting writing samples to employers who have requested them along with advice on what to do it you are submitting a published sample which you would like to re-edit for any number of reasons (no, you may not edit a previously published article for any reason). This Q&A was adapted from Lily's twice-monthly online discussion, How to Deal: Surviving Your Workplace where she answers your questions about human resources issues, workplace laws or just everyday workplace survival.
Writing Samples for Law Students
Writing Samples (Legal or Law Students)
...guidelines on providing writing samples for law students or students in legal professions. From the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Constructing Your Credentials: Writing Samples
...what to use for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year law students. From the Meredith Career Services Center at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Creating a Writing Sample
...a short summary outlining what makes a good writing sample and how to prepare your sample for the potential employer. From the Career Center at Duke Law.

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