How to write a Cover Letter
Cover Letter! This is where most of us freak out. Some of us don’t even bother to attempt writing one. But including a cover letter with your resume is what can truly set you apart in the job market. A perspective employer tends to decide within 20 to 90 seconds whether or not they want to invite you for an interview. A strong resume accompanied with a strong cover letter can help you do that.
The 5 Basic Parts of a Good Cover Letter
The Header – this is the contact info for the employer/recruiter you’re applying to. It includes their name (always try to get an actual person’s name), job title, company name and address.
Introduction Paragraph – here you should have why you’re writing, where you learned about the position, the job you’re applying for, the reasons for your interest in the organization/position and your enthusiasm for the job. These don’t necessarily have to follow in this order. You can start out with your enthusiasm for the job or the reasons for your interest in the company through a very brief anecdote to draw the prospective employer in. Sometimes this more engaging opening can be just what a potential employer needs to instantly set you apart from other applicants.
The Body – this should be no more than two to three paragraphs. In it you should emphasize the most relevant skills and experience you can bring to the job. You should also expound on how your abilities relate to the specific qualifications required for the position. Restate your interest in the job, as well as your motivation and any strengths you have. Finally, include any relevant achievements.
The Follow Up and Appreciation – Always end your cover letter with how you plan to follow-up on your application. Usually with a phone call or e-mail within a week after sending in your application. Also make a statement of appreciation for their time; after all, your cover letter could be the 100th they’ve read that week.
Closing Paragraph – Just like any letter, you need to sign off with some sort of salutation. The most professional is to use “sincerely.” Leave 4 to 5 lines blank and then type in your first and last name. The blank space is to give you room to insert your signature. If you have any enclosures (resume, writing samples, salary history, etc.), you would list them some lines under your signature/name.