The purpose of a good cover letter is to get you to the "dying to meet you " interview stage. Anxious job-seekers put a lot of thought into cover letters, but it's what you say at the end of the letter that's going to get an employer to reach for the phone. Even with a strong resume, a weak closing to your cover letter may convey a lack of confidence. Don't ask for a chance; show a potential employer why you deserve one.
The closing paragraph of a cover letter should accomplish two goals: It should show genuine gratitude at the fact that a potential employer liked your letter enough to read it through until the end, and it should answer the question you might ask after a great first date -- “When will I hear from you?” If your cover letter is a sales pitch, the final paragraph is the closer. Keep the ball in your court and lay out the next step. Don’t leave anything to chance.
A passive statement at the end of your letter, such as, “I look forward to hearing from you,” says that you’re more comfortable with waiting for things to happen, rather than going out and making things happen. An assertive statement, on the other hand, signals to a potential employer that you’re tenacious, bold, confident and willing to take the lead to get what you want. For example, write, “I’ll call you early next week to schedule an interview. I’m sure meeting me early in the hiring process will greatly reduce the necessity of meeting with other candidates.”
Or Not to Call
Back off from your bold stance in certain circumstances. If a job listing doesn't include the company name or you’re unable to track down the name of the person to whom you should address your letter, saying that you'll call would not be a smart move. Sometimes a potential employer specifically requests no phone calls because the company anticipates a large volume of applications. Saying that you'll call next week basically shows that you can't follow instructions, which is not the impression you want to give from the get-go.
Honor Your Word
If you say you will call in your cover letter, make sure you do call, and do it within the time frame you promised. Give your potential employer a glimpse of your work ethic -- show her you follow through on commitments and meet appointed deadlines.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.