Cover Letter Guidelines and Samples
The cover letter is a jobseeker’s first opportunity to attract an employer’s attention and interest. A cover letter should complement one’s résumé or CV, not simply reiterate it. The letter must also enhance the message communicated by the résumé or CV.
The contact information provided on the cover letter and résumé should not include a work phone number or email address, even in the rare instances where the company knows the individual is seeking a new position. It is not advisable to give the impression that an employee is using company resources for a job search. Equally important, jobseekers should not use information that may become obsolete if they leave their current company before completing a job search.
Addressing a cover letter and its salutation often challenge jobseekers who may be tempted to start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘To Whom It May Concern.’ If at all possible, the writer should find the name and title of the individual to whom résumés are directed—and spell the name correctly when addressing the cover letter. If it is impossible to obtain a name, the salutation line should be omitted altogether.
Résumé/CV Guidelines and Samples
A résumé or CV is the primary tool employers use to choose the jobseekers they will interview for a position.
The field where an individual seeks employment determines the type of document they should use to display their work and educational history. Most American companies prefer potential employees to submit a résumé that focuses on their work and educational experience. In the United States, it is relatively rare to submit a longer, CV-style document except when applying in special fields such as academia or scientific research.
American employers typically prefer résumés written in reverse chronological format, listing a person’s most recent work and educational experiences first. Most employers have difficulty interpreting the functional format résumé, which categories a worker’s experiences by skill area rather than their chronological order. Many employers also believe that applicants can use this format to hide a variety of problems or periods of unemployment and thus may view functional format résumés with suspicion.
You'll find more advice and cover letter and resume samples in the complete United States Guide.