A cover letter helps you sell yourself to a prospective employer before they start the interview or check the references on your resume. This document represents the first thing many employers see when you apply for a job. Know your cover letter basics to ensure your story follows the correct format and strikes the right tone.
Make sure you bring your best when writing a cover letter, which means including relevant parts of a standard letter to make a cohesive piece of correspondence. Like any piece of writing, you need an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Start with the heading and greeting at the top of the cover letter. Include your name, contact information and date at the very top. Then address the letter to a specific person involved in the hiring process, such as a human resources manager, hiring manager, recruiter or potential supervisor. If you cannot find a name of a person, address the letter to someone's job title with the words Recruiting Coordinator or Office Manager.
The opening and introduction provide a way for you to explain the purpose of the letter. This short paragraph also shows your energy, enthusiasm, basic skills, education and work experience. Briefly explain the benefits you bring to this potential employer.
The body of your cover letter reveals the meat of your story. Summarize your skills, education and experiences in more detail. Explain why you are the perfect fit for this position by relating a personal story.
Close the letter with a one-sentence note thanking the person for his time and consideration. Offer the closing word "Sincerely" or "Cordially" before signing your name to the bottom of the document.
Your letter tells a prospective employer how you fit into a company's culture, and why your past experiences have prepared you for this position. An introductory letter grabs the attention of your future boss and makes him want to know more. This type of correspondence expounds on what you listed in a resume by telling a story of how perfect you are for your future job.
You also need to know what type of cover letter to write. Choose which variety of letter is right for your situation. The type of letter revolves around how you discovered the job in the first place.
Write an invited letter as a response to a job posting or classified advertisement. Explain precisely how and why you have qualifications for the posted position. Contrarily, use a cold-contact letter to inquire about jobs a company has not listed. Research careers with the firm and explain why a particular position is right for you if that job ever comes open.
Write a referral letter when someone within the firm suggests you apply for the position. Make sure you mention the person who referred you in the correspondence. A job-match letter, also known as a "T" letter, matches your specific skill sets to a job description. Use one-on-one verbiage found in the posting. If the job states "10 years' experience," then say "I bring 12 years' experience."
Understand your cover letter basics to get noticed from the start of the job search process. Make your cover letter relevant, timely and personal to land that all-important interview.
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