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Cover Letter

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Cover Letter Tips

The cover letter introduces you and your resume to the reader.  First impressions are crucial.  Your cover letter should be well-written, short (1 page), look attractive, be easy to read and contain perfect spelling and grammar.  It looks best if it has the same font and style as your resume.
 
The cover letter should be customized to address all the skills and experience required in the advertisement (or position as described to you if not advertised), without repeating what is contained in your resume.
 
An effective cover letter compliments your resume by highlighting for the reader those aspects of your background that relate to their needs and preferably, in the same sequence as stated in the advertisement.
 
If there is a qualification that you do not directly possess, but you believe you have the equivalency, state how you consider this to be an equivalency.  Give an example.  You need to prove your case.
 
The cover letter is an opportunity for you to show your personality, strengths, skills and what you can offer to the employer.  You want to show that you are an above-average contender for the position.
 
Many employers state that they will take 5-8 seconds to read a cover letter.  If it does not address all the qualifications required for the position, they will not read the resume.
 

Content of the Cover Letter

 

  • Personalized to the company and for a particular job.
  • Research the employer so you can address their top priorities and needs.
  • Do not use a form letter – customize your letter as you have your resume.

Your letter should be laid out in a standard business formats.

 

Return Address and Date

 

  • Include your full return address and e-mail address.
  • Your name goes in this section or can be left to the end of the letter.
  • You telephone number can also go in this section or in the last paragraph of the letter.
  • Include today’s date as the last line in this section.

Addressing the Letter

 

  • For an unadvertised position - Find out the name and position title of the person doing the hiring.  Address the letter to this individual.
  • An advertised position will quote a specific address, but may not include a name.  Call the company to find out the person’s name (and correct spelling), then address the letter to that person.
  • If you have no luck in finding a name to address the letter to, use “Dear Sir or Madam” in the salutation.
  • Use the company’s name and mailing address under the person’s name to whom the letter is addressed.

Body of the Letter

 

        First paragraph should state which position you are applying for.  If you are answering a newspaper ad, the name of the publication and date that the ad appeared.

         What will you contribute to the company?  Show how your qualifications will benefit the employer.  If you are responding to an ad, state how your skills relate to the job’s requirements.

         Use concrete examples of what you have accomplished.

 

o       “I worked on a team that decreased costs by 25%”.

o       “I advanced from the position of receptionist to administrative assistant to executive assistant in a three year period”.

 

  • Subtly emphasize any knowledge you have about the company and how you would fit in with their goals and become an asset to them as an employee.
  • Use their terminology where possible.
  • Do you have experience that they did not ask for?  If you believe it’s relevant, mention it!
  • Show enthusiasm for the position and working for the employer.
  • Request an interview in the final paragraph.  Thank the reader for taking the time to read your letter and resume.  Include telephone numbers and times when you may be reached.

 Closing

 

  • End the letter simply and professionally – Sincerely, Respectfully.  Leave four spaces below (for your signature), then type your name.
  • Include an enclosure line as you are attaching your resume and possibly other materials.