Writing Resume Cover Letters

Richard H. Beatty, author of The Perfect Cover Letter, John Wiley & Sons, NY, suggests that the cover letter can be more important than the rest of the resume in obtaining an interview.

Before beginning the letter, learn the name of the individual who is steering the hiring process. Call this person and tell him or her to be expecting your resume. In light conversation, try to learn enough about the position and the individual to guide you in writing your letter. Find out what specific skills and personal qualities are needed in the new position and determine how well you measure up in these regards.Your cover letter should identify the job for which you are applying and give the reasons you are an ideal candidate for the job. Sell your “hot button” qualifications to the employer – for example, your ability to solve turnover problems, motivate workers, and lead building operations. This is also a good place to include a personal note describing your appreciation of baseball, old cars, rare stamps – any interest that you and your potential employer share. Work on building good chemistry from your very first contact.The cover letter gives you the opportunity to be more personal than is appropriate in a resume. In your letter, show your enthusiasm for the job. Offer complimentary comments about your addressee’s company. (These compliments must be based in fact. Otherwise, they will make you seem ill informed or worse!) End with a direct request for a personal interview.

Sample cover letter

Mr. Fred Ward
Tampa Builders
1131 Vista Drive
Tampa, Florida

Dear Fred:

It was a pleasure to speak with you last Wednesday. As we discussed, I am interested in being considered for the job of chief estimator with your firm. I am originally from Tampa, and would like to rejoin my family there.

In addition, I would like to participate in the upsurge of building now transforming the Tampa area. You mentioned that you are not from this region originally. If you had seen the sleepy, undeveloped backwater of my boyhood, you’d know just why I’m so excited by the growth Tampa is experiencing today.

Tampa Builders has been a positive force behind this growth, as I hope to become with my upcoming move. Tampa has several excellent contractors for me to consider, but I’ve taken a specific interest in your firm because of your success on the Vista Height Condominium development, and the fact that you do not yet have a computer-estimating department.

I am well versed in the use of MC2 estimating software, and I’d like to show you the cost advantage you could enjoy by implementing a similar program for Tampa Builder’s next projects.

I will be in Tampa next Tuesday and would like to visit with you during the day if your schedule allows. Please call me at your earliest convenience.

Again, Fred, it was a pleasure to speak with you.


Arthur T. Advancer
Senior Estimator ATA/ct

The article above was written by construction recruiter Frederick Hornberger, CPC, president of Hornberger Management Company in Wilmington, Delaware (www.hmc.com), a construction recruiter specializing in senior level, executive search.