Types of Resume Cover Letters


Response to an Advertisement
This is perhaps the most common type of cover letter, or at least the one most often thought of when hearing the term. A response to an advertisement will include:

  • The company name and address
  • A specific person to whom to address the letter
  • How the candidate heard about the position (where it was listed)
  • The name of the position the candidate is applying for
  • Information in the letter that addresses the requirements listed in the job posting

Response to a Blind Advertisement
In this type of job posting, the name of the company is not included. For those already employed, this can be tricky as it is not known if the person’s current company is the one placing the ad. For new job seekers this is not an issue. Letters responding to a blind advertisement will include:

  • The address provided
  • A generic salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • How the candidate heard about the position (where it was listed)
  • The name of the position the candidate is applying for
  • Information in the letter that addresses the requirements listed in the job posting

Response to a Recruiter’s Advertisement (or a job placement agency)
Recruiters will sometimes place classified advertisements for the positions they need to fill, just as a company would. There are a few differences that need to be addressed, however. A letter to a recruiter will include information that would not normally go into a cover letter, such as salary requirements, whether or not the candidate is willing to relocate. When responding to recruiters or agencies, it is important to keep in mind that the recruiter is working for the company that has job openings, not for the candidate. Letters to recruiters or agencies will include:

  • The recruiter’s name and address information
  • How the candidate heard about the position (where it was listed)
  • The name of the position the candidate is applying for
  • Salary requirements (a range, not a specific number)
  • Whether or not the candidate is willing to relocate
  • Information in the letter that addresses the requirements listed in the job posting

Cold Call Letters to Employers
These letters are written “out of the blue” in that they do not respond to a specific job listing. Candidates will often submit a cold call letter and resume when they have identified a company they would like to work for, but the company is not currently hiring (as far as they know). This letter introduces the candidate and expresses a desire to work for the company. A cold call letter will include:

  • The company name and address
  • A specific person to whom the letter is addressed
  • An introduction to the candidate
  • The candidate’s area of interest
  • An overview of the candidate’s qualifications

Cold Call Letters to Recruiters (or agencies)
These letters are very similar to cold call letters to companies, except they include the same type of information typically sent to recruiters. A candidate may wish to send a cold call letter to a recruiter following research on various recruiters; if a recruiter specializes in a candidate’s field, it may be worth sending a letter of introduction. Cold call letters to recruiters will include:

  • The recruiter’s name and address
  • An introduction to the candidate
  • The candidate’s area of interest
  • Salary requirements (a range, not a specific number)
  • Whether or not the candidate will relocate
  • An overview of the candidate’s qualifications

Direct Mail Campaigns
A direct mail campaign is a large-scale version of the cold call letter to a company. In this instance, a “generic” letter of introduction is sent to a large number of companies. Because it is less focused and not targeted, it may not lead to any “hits,” but could be worth a try. Direct mail campaign letters include:

  • The company name and address (usually inserted using a mail merge function)
  • A generic salutation such as, “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • An introduction to the candidate
  • The candidate’s area of interest
  • An overview of the candidate’s qualifications
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