A cover letter is your first opportunity to introduce yourself, make a good impression, and make yourself stand out to an employer. This first impression can make or break your chances of reaching your goal of getting an interview. Here are a few tips on how to create a well-written cover letter that will make employers want to learn more about you:
Limit your letter to a single page to be put in front of your resume. It does not need to be more than 2-4 short paragraphs.
Do not simply repeat your resume.
Interpret your resume. Complement your resume. The employer has your resume, so you need to make your cover letter different and interesting.
Tailor your letter to the specific job and company you are applying for. Do not use the same generic information for every job you apply for. You need to convince the employer that YOU are the right person for THIS job.
Write it pyramid style.
Include the most important information towards the top. The employer probably has several applications to look at, so if the he only reads part of your cover letter, ensure that he at least reads the best part.
Check, double check, and triple check for spelling and grammar errors. Easily fixed spelling mistakes can be a complete turn-off to an employer. Take this opportunity to show your professionalism and communication skills.
What do I include?
Tell the employer your recent and relevant career achievements, job experience, education, and skills you have that make you the best candidate for the job. Include your enthusiasm and interest in the position, and thank the employer for their time and consideration.
Below, is an outline for how the format of a cover letter should be:
Your Contact Information
City, State, Zip Code
Employer Contact Information (if you have it)
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name, (If you do not have the hiring manager’s information, simply write “To whom it may concern,”)
First paragraph: Explain your purpose for writing. Include the position you are applying for. You may include where you found the job listing and any mutual contacts.
Middle paragraph(s): Highlight a few of your relevant job experiences (most recent first), education, and skills. Match your skills to what they are looking for.
Final paragraph: Thank the employer for his time/consideration. Request an opportunity to meet with the employer for an interview.
Handwritten Signature (for hard copy)
Check out some Cover Letter Examples.