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an example of parallel structure

Common Writing Challenges

Cover Letter

Though we usually think of cover letters as single-page introductions to résumés, cover letters may also serve to introduce other kinds of documents, such as business proposals, medical records, book manuscripts, blueprints, or other documents that need introductions or explanations.

A cover letter for a résumé should include the following: the reason for the letter, basic personal information, the reason for interest in the job opening, the relevancy of the writer's education and employment experience, an intention to follow up on the letter, a willingness to provide more information, and a thank you. A cover letter should be written so that it piques the interest of the letter recipient.

Popular advice is to keep a résumé cover letter to three paragraphs; however, a trend for short paragraphs may increase this to four. Short paragraphs are more legible on a computer screen. Whether you use three paragraphs or four, the number of sentences should be about the same. An effective cover letter is a brief one.


• I am enclosing copies of the photographs that I described to you over the phone this morning.

• I am writing to introduce myself and to express interest in the opening for an anesthetist that was posted on the University Hospital website today.

• The enclosed résumé provides more detail about my educational background and experience.

• Please consider me a candidate for the lectureship in political science.

• I will try to reach you by phone early next week to check on your availability for me to discuss Century Software's needs with you in person.

• I am writing to express interest in the opening for a sales manager that you announced in the classified ads in Manitoba Business.

• As the Department of Biochemistry does for all new third-year students in this major, I have drawn up an academic plan for your junior and senior years. Please examine it carefully and refer to it every semester. It maps out the course work you will need during the final two years of your undergraduate education.

• Your itinerary for your May and June trip in South Asia is enclosed.

• Please examine carefully the enclosed blueprints and especially the changes to the solarium that you requested.



Dear ———,

Your revised itinerary for Argentina, Antarctica, and the Falkland Islands, which we discussed over the phone yesterday, is enclosed for your perusal and approval.

Please examine it carefully, and let us know by Friday, 28 July, if there are any changes to be made. After that date, changes in the itinerary will incur additional fees.

It has been a pleasure working with you. I hope you enjoy your trip to that part of the world. I have made the trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia and it remains the highlight of my travels.

Please call or email me if you have questions. Have a good trip.

Bon voyage,



Dear ———,

Please find enclosed my résumé in application for the position of part-time English-language tutor for new immigrant students at Keller Community College.

I am a university junior with a major in German, and though I do not have formal ESL training, my German grammar courses have helped me learn a lot about the grammar of English, and I know that I can explain English usage in easy terms for recent immigrants.

My employment history includes part-time work as an assistant to an English teacher for the public school system, and that great job accounts for my enthusiasm for a similar opportunity to work with students.

I would find the opportunity to visit you to discuss the position and to learn more about the prospective students very rewarding. I will call your office at the end of the week with the hope that I might be able to set up a time to meet with you.




Dear ———,

Sean Lee, a junior nanomaterials research scientist at NovoMaterials, suggested I write and submit my résumé to you. Sean and I are well acquainted because we completed the same program in nanotechnology at Carnegie Mellon, though a year apart, and Sean knows about my keen interest and eagerness to work in the field, and at NovoMaterials in particular.

I majored in biotechnology in the nanotechnology program, and worked with Professor Jean Ripeau, whom I chose because of his interest in NBIC convergence. I was also employed in Professor Ripeau's lab during my program, and that will end when I graduate in three weeks. I will be available for immediate employment at that time.

I am enclosing a résumé, which discusses my training and experience in more detail, and I am happy to provide any other information that may be helpful to you to know me well. Thank you for reading my résumé.

Sincerely yours,



Dear ———,

Please consider me for the part-time Spanish-English translator position that I found today posted on your company website.

Currently a student at St. Ambrose University, my academic goal is an advanced degree in linguistics, and fluency in a second language is a program requirement. I chose Spanish because it offers many opportunities to practice the language with native speakers here.

To boost my fluency, I have done some volunteer interpreting for the community center in my neighborhood, and some paid translating of basic medical documents from Spanish to English for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

I am enclosing my résumé, and I am happy to provide additional information about my education and experience. In fact, I will try to get a hold of you by phone in the middle of next week to see if you could make time for me to come to your office to tell you more about myself and my interest in the translator position.




Dear ———,

I am writing to introduce myself and to submit the enclosed résumé in application for the part-time coordinator position at Safe-Kids Day Care.

I'm afraid that my résumé is not very lengthy. After obtaining an AA degree in child care from Tri-City Community College, I soon married and began raising a family, making opportunities for full-time employment difficult. In addition, my husband and I made a decision to home-school our children through middle school, and while that contributes to the long period of unemployment after college, the home-schooling experience has been great for me. I believe that home-schooling has provided me significant insight into the educational needs and the development of young children.

I should also mention that I have considerable computer skills, including fluency in Microsoft Office applications, as well as Adobe InDesign, and I am beginning to familiarize myself with web development. I believe I am well prepared to be a part-time coordinator, and I do hope I will have the opportunity to meet you and discuss with you how I can help at Safe-Kids Day Care.

Respectfully yours,