Teaching Students How to Craft a Cover Letter
Block Letter Format
For a letter of application, students need to learn the block style for business letters. Before starting the lesson, teachers need to review or teach this format or style.
In the block style, there is no indenting. All parts of the letter need to line up on the left margin. The order of the letter parts are as follows:
- Your address (sender's address)
- Address where the letter is going (inside address)
- Salutation (Dear Mr. Johnson:)
- Body of letter
To view a sample block style letter, go to the Business Communication website.
Teaching Procedures for Writing the Letter
Once students understand the proper format, they can begin writing the cover letter. For this lesson, students can use the imaginary scenarios, or they can write a letter that they can actually use for a real job.
Practice Imaginary Help Wanted Scenarios
Imaginary Scenario #1:The Write Office Group is hiring people to work in their office to read letters from their readers and then send the letters to the proper person within the company.In addition, other writing duties may be assigned.This is an entry-level position.Send letters of application to Write Office Group, Human Relations Director, Susan Stevens, 1245 South Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 45671.This “help wanted ad” was found in the Columbus Dispatch.
Imaginary Scenario #2: The Shark Construction Company is hiring apprentice carpenters to work with the master carpenters in a large office building.Basic carpentry skills are needed.This is an entry-level position.Send letters of application to The Shark Construction Company, Human Relations Director, Rob Showers, 456 Main Street, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764. This “help wanted ad” was found in the Athens Messenger.
Steps for Lesson
Step 1: The teacher needs to explain the reason students need to send a cover letter with their resume.
Reasons to Send a Cover Letter
A cover letter highlights skills and provides additional information to the employer.It mainly tells why the person is qualified for the job, the person's interest in the job and the reasons for applying. The letter should tell the employer the exact job one is applying for, why one should be selected for an interview and how to contact the person.
If students are using the imaginary scenarios, they can make up facts. However, if they are going to use this letter of application, they need to be honest about their skills.
Step 2: Tell students to write the sender’s address, date, inside address and salutation.
Step 3: Direct students to write the first paragraph.The first paragraph should state the job the student is interested in and where he/she found out about the job.
Step 4: Ask students to write the second paragraph.The second paragraph should tell the employer why the student would be perfect for the job.The student should list his/her skills and experience.
Step 5: Tell students to write the third paragraph.The students should tell the hiring manager thanks for considering them and note how they will follow-up and/or how the hiring manager can contact them.
Step 6: Direct students to write the closing, signature and enclosure.
This lesson can help students with their real job search or it can help them practice for future jobs.It is a letter writing skill that every student needs.