2 Cover LettersAn essential step in obtaining employment is having a great cover letter. It is the initial impression you make on an employer. It not only demonstrates your written communication and organizational skills, but reveals much about your personal style and work ethic.The task of writing a personalized cover letter for each job application may seem daunting; however, if you know what to focus on, writing a great cover letter can be easy.
3 Parts of the Cover Letter Letterhead Use the same letterhead as in your résumé. Be sure to include all your current contact information: Your name, complete mailing address, phone number and address (if applicable).
4 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) DateInclude the current date in the format of month, day, and year. For example: February 23, 2011.Name and Address of EmployerThe address should include:Name and title of the person reviewing your application - spelled correctlyName and full mailing address of the organizationEmployers are always impressed when a cover letter is addressed to them specifically.
5 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) Salutation Try to find out the name and gender of the person who will be reviewing your résumé. Be sure you spell the name correctly. Use a semi-colon after the salutation, (e.g. Dear Ms Smith;). If you are unable to find out the name, avoid the use of “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. You may address a specific job title (e.g. Attention: Hiring Manager), or simply go to the first paragraph of your letter.
6 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) First Paragraph: The JobThe purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself in a way that will convince the employer that you are a potential candidate for the position. The first paragraph should include information on why you are writing.Indicate:The position for which you're applying, (including the Reference number or Job ID number if applicable);How you found out about the opening.A brief sentence that gives your highest level of education, or the number of years you have worked in the industry, if applicable;A brief statement about why you would fit the position.
7 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) Middle Paragraphs: The Organization and Your QualificationsThe body of your letter can be one to two paragraphs in length. You will need to describe what you have to offer the employer and show the employer why you're a good match for the job and the organization.The paragraph(s) should:Show that you've researched the organization, and understand its needs.Describe what you have to offer the employer. Focus on what YOU can do for them, rather than why you want the position.Connect their needs with your skills/experience.Highlight your most significant accomplishments, abilities and experiences that are relevant to the position and job requirements.Use this section to portray confidence in your ability to succeed in this position.
8 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) Concluding Paragraph:Thank the employer for considering your application.If you need to explain something out of the ordinary about your application, this is the place to do it.Express your desire to meet for an interview in the near future.Make it clear what happens next – how will you follow up? Will you them in 2 weeks to ensure they received all your information?
9 Parts of a Cover Letter (continued) Complimentary Close: Sign off and include your contact information.
10 Cover Letter TipsSend a customized cover letter with each résumé you send out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your résumé ignored. Even if an employer doesn’t request a cover letter, it’s helpful to send one.Target your cover letter. Take the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for. List the experience and skills you have. Address how your skills match the job in paragraph form or list the criteria and your qualifications.Don’t rehash your résumé. Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your résumé. Expand on your résumé and highlight your background as it relates to the job.
11 Cover Letter Tips (continued) Write simply and clearly. Get right to the point and write short, targeted letters. Each letter should be one page or less. Each paragraph should contain three or four sentences at most.Spell check and proofread. Then ask someone else to read your letter before you send it. It is often easy to miss mistakes in our own writing.Keep copies of all your cover letters to track your job applications and to serve as templates for future applications.
12 Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts Be concise and clear. Do not go over 1 page;Demonstrate confidence – use words such as “certain”, “confident” and “positive” rather than “think”, “feel” and “believe”;Make sure the tone of the cover letter is upbeat and enthusiastic;Show that you have taken the time to research the company and the position, and that you have put effort into writing your cover letter;Demonstrate that you meet or exceed the requirements of the position;Using several short paragraphs instead of one long chunk of text;Personalize your letter by addressing it to the appropriate contact person. Use their name and title and double check the spelling;Proofread your letter and get someone else to read it as well. Use this opportunity to show off your excellent communication skills!
13 Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts (continued) Repeat your resume in your cover letterSend a resume by mail without including a cover letterUse the same cover letter to apply to every position