Writing a Persuasive Cover Letter Outline
• Be original. Avoid templates, or copying written examples. Show your
personality and good writing skills.
• Follow the persuasive strategy of grabbing attention, creating interest, reducing
resistance, and motivating action.
• Aim of letter is to excite reader about resume and get an interview.
• Customize every letter you write.
• Address the letter to an individual by name (title, department) if possible
• For advertised jobs, name the source; include job title, date, and publication
• If someone referred you, name that person (with permission)
• Include the exact position and that you are applying for it
• Show knowledge of the reader’s business or industry; can describe your strongest
qualifications but only if exceptional (body contains these details)
• Use only one paragraph, with fewer than four sentences
• Use two or three paragraphs organized to parallel your résumé (education,
• Focus on what the reader gains, not on “I”; avoid lists of words, personal opinions
• Show you are prepared to work with little training needed
• Choose key points plus examples from résumé to support all claim statements
• Use key words that appear in the job description to show how your background
and training fill the job requirements
• Refer to the enclosed résumé (last sentence in body)
• Ask for an interview in the first sentence. Tone must be consistent with rest of
• Provide full contact details.
• Include details of any special circumstances (confidentiality, vacation, messages)
• Can add specific thanks (optional) but avoid all clichés
• Last sentence should again show knowledge of company or industry, or express
eagerness to join team, or reader benefit
ForYour Information only: Not part of the assignment Writing a Persuasive Résumé
1. Research the job market. Learn about jobs, qualifications, and employers.
2. Analyze your strengths. What will sell you for the job you want?
3. Study other resumes as models. Experiment with formatting, avoiding templates.
Consider creating several versions: one-page, two to three pages, scan-able, creative.
Heading and Objective/Profile
1. List your name, e-mail address and phone (and other contact methods). Center
the information to ensure name is dominant.
2. Include a career objective for a targeted job. Sometimes a profile is used instead or
both are omitted. Customize for every application.
1. Name your degree, date of graduation, and institution. When still in school, include
beginning date (month/year).