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I'm always pushing job seekers to use a relaxed tone in their cover letters. But sometimes a formal cover letter is the right way to go. This is one of those times.
Andrew's Cover Letter for My Review
Andrew sent me this cover letter sample, asking for my help with his entry-level job search.
With this covering letter and attached resume, I would like to express my interest in obtaining employment for an entry-level job position. I submit my qualifications and interest in working with your reputed institution. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree in Accounting from the African Methodist Episcopal University. It is often said that to operate effectively within a financial environment, one must be tenacious, analytical, and highly dedicated. I want to obtain a full position in a banking institution that will utilize my analytical and financial background. I can assure you that if given this opportunity, I would be pleased to apply my competencies to add value as a member of your team. I would relish the challenge of working for such a high-profile institution and admire your commitment to customer service.Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to you to arrange an interview.
Enclosures: Resume and References.
My Take on Andrew's Rather Formal Cover Letter
I really like the polite tone of your cover letter. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I have a few comments that I hope will make it a bit better.
- Although it was once common to start a letter with "Dear Sir/Madam" it is now considered old-fashioned. It would be better to start with "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear Manager."
- The word "reputed" seems a little too much (almost like flattery). I suggest you delete that word.
- It would be good to make a new paragraph with the sentence "It is often said...".
- Perhaps you could say "I would like to obtain..." instead of "I want to obtain...". It's just a little more gentle.
- See how it looks if you make another new paragraph with the sentence, "I can assure you...".
- In the same sentence, I suggest you delete "be pleased to" and "apply my competencies to" so it reads: "I can assure you that if given this opportunity, I would add value as a member of your team."
- In the next sentence, the word "relish" is not quite right. I suggest using "welcome" instead. Also, I suggest using "would uphold" instead of "admire."
- The last sentence needs help. Here's another way to close your letter: "I would very much appreciate the opportunity of a job interview."
The overall tone of your letter is bit formal, but I think it is appropriate given your field. It also hints that you are from a non-American culture. If I'm correct about this, then the tone of your letter is very good. If you want to sound more American (not something I'm pushing for) then think about rewriting the whole thing with a more relaxed tone.
A Quick Rewrite of Andrew's Cover Letter Sample
I took a stab at rewriting your cover letter, using the points above and making a few more edits. Here you go.
With this cover letter and attached resume, I would like to express my interest in obtaining employment for an entry-level position at ____ (name of firm). I have a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Accounting from the African Methodist Episcopal University.
It is often said that to operate effectively within a financial environment, one must be tenacious, analytical, and highly dedicated. I can assure you that as a member of your team, I would bring these attributes to your firm. I would welcome the challenge of working for such a high-profile institution and would uphold your commitment to excellent customer service.
Thank you for your consideration. I would very much appreciate the opportunity of a job interview.
Enclosures: Resume and References
I think this version keeps your formal tone while making your message a little more streamlined. I hope it helps you land that entry-level job you're looking for.
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