When you're applying for a job, a well-written cover letter is key. Telling the employer a few key details about your work experience and how you found out about the job are the first few steps you should take, but after that, it's perfectly acceptable to ask for an interview in your letter. It's like anything you want in life -- you never know until you ask.
No matter what the circumstances, your cover letter needs to include some very basic information. First, be sure the letter is addressed to a specific person, and include their full contact information at the top left of the page. Include the date at the top right. In the first paragraph, state the job title you are seeking and let the person know how you found out about the position, including the names of any people at the company who may have told you about the job. In the second paragraph, provide a few details about your training or experience that make you a great candidate for the position.
The third paragraph is the appropriate place to request an interview with the employer. The first two paragraphs should entice the recipient to want to know more about you, and by now the person should be interested in knowing more. State very clearly that you are hoping to discuss the position further. In its most formal form, you can ask for an interview by saying something like "I would like to request an interview with you." More casually, you could say something like "I would love to sit down with you and talk about the position." Whichever you choose, stay positive and respectful.
Once you've stated that you want an interview, it's time to give the recipient some specifics about how to carry out the next step. Name a few days and times when you are available for an interview, keeping your schedule as open as possible. The aerobics class you go to every Tuesday should not be the reason to leave that time out --- make yourself as available as possible. Once you've named a few specific times you're available, let the person know the best way to reach you -- and then be sure that your contact information is at the bottom of your letter.
On the last line of the letter, state a specific day and time that you plan to contact the recipient to discuss the matter further. While this doesn't necessarily mean that the person will be available at that time, it at least shows that you're committed and persistent about landing an interview. If you do mention a specific time for follow-up, be sure to call or e-mail at the time you specified.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.