The type of salutation you use will depend on what was stated in the ad. If an individual's name was listed, write to him by name and title. Otherwise, "Dear Sir or Madam" is acceptable. Some job-hunters prefer to use "Good Morning!"
Your letter should begin by making reference to the ad. Cite the title of the position, name of the publication, and its date. The next paragraph should state that your resume is enclosed and then provide a two- or three-sentence overview of your back ground as it pertains to the requirements listed in the ad. The closing paragraph should state that you hope to hear back from the company or will be calling to follow up.
Be sure the letter is dated, and type it on the same stationery you used for your resume.
Here's the cover letter Jack Bartello would have written for answering the following ad:
When a company identifies itself in an ad, you'll gain a reader's immediate interest-plus distinguish your response from the swarm of replies-if you can begin your letter by citing a recent news item on the company. Here, reference publications in your library, such as Standard Rate and Data Service Business Publications Directory, Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Business Periodicals Index, Business Index, F&S Index, and Infotrac will tell you when a company was written up by a magazine or news paper, including the date of publication.
Had the above advertiser identified itself in its ad and had Jack Bartello been able to find a recent article on the company, his response could have been as follows (assuming the ad instructed applicants to respond to a particular individual):
Dear Dr. Aslanian:
It was with great interest that I read the recent New York Times article about your company's breakthrough in polymer manufacturing. The new opportunities and markets that this technology presents makes me especially interested in interviewing for the Sales Manager position that was advertised in the December 12 issue of The Boston Sunday Globe.
As my enclosed resume indicates, I have a track record of success in sales management as well as selling chemical products to distributors in the New England states. I hold a B.S. degree in chemistry.
I will call you shortly to discuss scheduling a time to meet.
Very truly yours,
Jack P. Bartello
2. Cover Letter for Sending an Unsolicited Resume to a Company
When sending an unsolicited resume to a potential employer, it's best to write to the manager who has the authority to hire you. If you know who this person is, write to him by name and title.
The letter should begin by briefly summarizing your back ground and stating your most significant accomplishment in relation to the type of position you're seeking.
The next paragraph should explain that you're writing to the company because you'd like to arrange an interview and that your resume is enclosed for this reason.
The closing paragraph should state that you hope to hear back from the company or will be calling to follow up.
The cover letter Jack Bartello would have written for sending companies an unsolicited resume is as follows;
There are three instances when it's acceptable, but not recommended, to send an organization a resume without a cover letter: (1) when you're on close terms with someone at a company and he's expecting to receive your background (here, a handwritten note will suffice); (2) when contacting an employment agency; and (3) when answering a blind box ad.