When you're looking for a job, your cover letter is your chance to show off your personality and allow your future employers to see what it's not possible to convey in an impersonal resume. While most people write their cover letters using a computer, there may come a time when it's appropriate to hand-write your cover letter. In fact, some more artistically-minded employers may ask for it so they can check out your penmanship. You probably shouldn't send a hand-written cover letter unless an employer asks for it -- but if he does, make sure you're turning in something that's more sophisticated than scribbly.
Select a quality pen. While it's perfectly acceptable to use a ballpoint pen, using a fountain pen or gel pen will look more sophisticated, and demonstrate that you're willing to take care to make your correspondence look good.
Practice writing on scrap paper. If you're like many people, you use your computer and mobile phone to communicate more often than you write things down, and likely need a little refresher on good penmanship. Practice writing out the entire letter, working on spacing the words so they don't run into the margins. Become familiar with the pen so you don't leave splotches or blots on the page.
Select paper that has a slightly heavier weight than regular printer paper. This also demonstrates that you're willing to go the extra mile.
Write your letter slowly and carefully, and start over if you make a mess. Follow the standard rules for writing a cover letter; use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and state the job for which you are applying. Use the second paragraph to state why you want the job and what specific skills you possess that make you a good candidate. Then, use the third paragraph to ask the employer to contact you.
Be patient and don't spoil your hard work by not waiting for the ink to dry. If you're using a fountain, gel or other special pen, it may take some extra time for the ink to dry.
- If you're choosing to hand-write your letter and the employer did not specifically ask for it, be sure to mention somewhere why your letter is hand-written.
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.