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Cover Letters and Letters of Introduction

The cover letter that accompanies the resume can an important tool of the job development process. Other than the resume, it is the single key document that will introduce the candidate to a prospective employer. If it is well-written, it can pave the way to a job interview.

The cover letter serves three functions:

1. It targets your resume.
2. It introduces the job seeker and his or her employment skills and abilities to the employer.
3. It creates employer interest to interview the person.

What if the applicant is applying for an entry-level job in which a resume and cover letter isn't used?

Another effective way to present job qualifications is through a personal letter by someone who knows the job seeker well enough to describe his or her capabilities.

This is especially useful if the writer is well known in the community or is known by the employer doing the hiring. Again, the letter should be only one or two pages, and should include most of the elements listed in a resume, but be written from a personal perspective.


Most job seekers should have a small number of people who could be contacted to give a positive description of their capabilities. Most employers seek no more than three at any one time. It is a good idea to have ready a list of people, their titles, addresses and phone numbers.

References should preferably be people from the business world, or secondarily community figures such as clergy, bankers, etc. Work references from the human service world may have little standing to an employer.

Never give references to employers until they request them, but be sure and keep a list of references with you when interviewing so that you can presentthem when asked.