How to Write a Job Cover Letter
Most employers hiring for professional positions expect a cover letter with a resume. A carefully crafted cover letter is as important to your success as your resume.
- The purpose of the letter is to get you an interview. Do not send a resume without one.
- Cover letters introduce you and give you a chance to show what you can contribute.
- The cover letter sets the stage for the resume. It gives you a chance to emphasize your strong points and build a case for yourself.
Your cover letter should include the following;
- Introduce yourself and the reason for sending your resume, i.e. the position you desire.
- State where and when you saw the company/position advertised.
- Refer to any previous conversations/meetings.
- Summarize and expand on the experience detailed in your resume. This is your chance to sell yourself.
- Tell how your talents would benefit the company.
- Include your full contact details: Name, address, phone numbers.
- Refer the reader to your resume for complete information.
- Last, and most importantly, ask for an interview.
Remember the following rules for the presentation of your letter:
- Align paragraphs to the left; allow a one inch margin all around.
- Include all you need to but keep the letter short and to-the-point. No more than one page.
- Get a specific name to address the letter to. Close with “Sincerely.”
- The first three to four lines are the most important. The reason for your letter should be stated first. If they don’t know why you’re writing after the first line, they will not read the rest.
- You have to sell your qualifications and experience, but don’t repeat the information on your resume exactly. Pick something related to the position and expand.
Sample Cover Letter
Your present address (line 13)
City, State Zip Code
City, State Zip Code
First paragraph (Introduction) – tell the employer why you are writing, name the position you are seeking or your field of interest (be as specific as possible). State how you heard about the position or the company.
Second paragraph (Body) – VERY IMPORTANT – explain the skills you have to offer the employer. State why you are interested in the organization to which you are applying and refer to specific education and experience relevant to the position opening.
Third paragraph (Closing) – Close by requesting a job interview. Either suggest a time when you would be available or state your willingness to meet at the employer’s request. If, instead of requesting an interview, you are seeking further information on possible openings, it would be polite to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Your closing should not be vague, but should request specific action.
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