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Employers Talk About Resumes, Cover Letters and Thank You Letters - Brochures - Job Search - One-Stop Career Centers


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The Write Stuff. Do you really need a resume, cover letter or thank you letter? Western Maryland employers recently took part in a survey conducted by the Maryland Job Service. The employers represented a variety of industries and occupations from both small and large companies. They offered some advice about resumes, cover letters, and thank you letters.


40% of the employers said they ask most of their job candidates to supply resumes. While many employers only ask candidates for professional or managerial jobs for a resume, some employers ask for them at all levels.

So, do you need a resume? It’s a good idea to have one even if the employer doesn’t specifically ask. As one employer said, "An application only has limited space – a resume can tell the employer more about you and your experience." Tailor your resume to the job you are seeking and clearly highlight relevant skills.

Have a friend proofread your resume to make sure there are no spelling errors. The Maryland Job Service offers resume workshops and has resume software to assist job seekers in writing their own resumes. Copiers and fax machines are also available for job search purposes at no charge at Maryland Job Service One-Stop Career Centers.


Most employers that want resumes say including a cover letter with your resume is important. Many commented on how they use the cover letter to evaluate a person’s writing ability, attention to detail, personality, communication skills, and professionalism. "A cover letter is a way of showing personality and getting a better chance of your resume sticking out", said one employer. One said lack of a cover letter would be a "deal breaker" and several said poorly written ones are "killers."

The cover letter should explain why you are interested in the specific position for which you are applying. Keep it brief -- no more than 3 or 4 paragraphs. If possible, address it to a specific person. Highlight your qualifications and tell the employer what skills and talents you will bring to the position. "Sell yourself" is how one employer put it.



October x, 20xx

Mr. John F. Johnson, Personnel Manager
Buckeye Publications
555 Tamarack Drive
Anytown, USA 55555

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Communications skills are a key to success for the Subscription Assistant position, advertised in the March 1, 2003 edition of the Anytown news.
(In your initial paragraph, state the reason for the letter, the specific position or type of work for which you are applying and indicate where you learned of the opening.)

My expertise in the following areas help to identify me as a strong candidate for this position:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Two years telemarketing experience
  • Experience in promoting a local weekly publication
  • One year experience in a retail operation
  • An Associates of Arts degree in English

(Indicate why you are interested in the position, the company, its products or services and how your skills, knowledge and abilities can help the employer. If you are a recent graduate, explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate for the position. If you had some practical work experience, point out the specific achievements or unique qualifications and the transferable skills gained in those positions which are applicable to the position you are seeking. Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find in the resume.)

The Subscription Assistant position is in line with my career goals as outlined in my resume. I would welcome the opportunity for a personal interview at your earliest convenience. (In the final paragraph, indicate your desire for a personal interview and your flexibility as to the time and place. Close the letter with a statement or question, which will encourage a response.)


John Doe (your name)



Your letter should provide the employer with the following information:

  • The reason you are writing.
  • The reason you are interested in the company and the job.
  • The reason the employer should be interested in you.
  • A request for an interview.

Try to address it to a specific individual if possible. If you don’t have a name, you may be able to get one from a local employer directory. Check with your local Job Service or library.


75% of the employers encouraged job seekers to follow up after dropping off an application or having an interview. About half of those said to follow up within one week and the most popular method requested was by telephone. However, some employers really disliked getting phone calls. Several of them recommended that a candidate ask specifically about following up to find out what method each employer would prefer.

55% said a thank you letter has made them take a second look at an application. "It shows interest and keeps the person’s name on top of my desk" said one employer. Because not all candidates send thank you letters, it can make you stand out and give you another chance to sell yourself to the employer. Many candidates use it to highlight areas the employer emphasized at the interview. A thank you letter can be typed or handwritten, depending on the type of position you are applying for. Send it as soon after the interview as possible, ideally within 24 hours.


(Can be typed or handwritten)

1 Apian Way
Anytown, USA 55555
October x, 20xx

Mr. William Kelly
William’s Designs
12 Sleepy Bear Road
Anytown, USA 55555

Dear Mr. Kelly:

Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the Interior Design position available within your company. After speaking with you, I am positive that I could make an immediate and significant contribution to William’s Designs. I share your strong conviction that a building’s interior should reflect its original architectural design. It is a belief I have lived by since the start of my career.
(Express appreciation for the interviewer’s time. Refer to the interview. Mention the position title and remind the interviewer of a few of your attributes. Show enthusiasm for the position.)

My background in commercial design seems like a perfect fit for the expansion plans you have for your company. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
(Reaffirm that you would be the best person for the position. Always focus on what you can do for the company. Close by telling the interviewer that you hope to hear about the job soon.)


John Smith


This brochure was developed by the Maryland Job Service with the assistance of the Washington County Job Service Employer Committee.


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