I know for me personally, there have been times when I have sent in a resume for a job opening and chose to not send a cover letter with it. I now realize that not only is that the lazy way out, it is also missing out on a very important aspect of your resume. The actual resume is just an outline of the basic, dry facts about you, your job history, and your skill sets. The cover letter is where you can expound some and "sell yourself" to the potential employer. The purpose of the cover letter is to grab the attention of the reader, and allow you to hopefully stand out amongst the pile of resumes they have received. Here are some tips to make writing such a cover letter a bit easier.
A cover letter should be set up in three basic parts, to include the opening, body and conclusion.
The opening is probably the most important part, and where you really need to grab them so they will read on. If possible, always seek to find a name to direct the resume to, and address the cover letter directly to them (and please be sure you spell their name correctly). In the opening section, be sure to reference the job title, and state where you heard about the open position, if able. If you found out about the position from a current employee (in good standing) with the company, be sure to reference their name as it could be a benefit.
Moving on to the body portion of the cover letter, this is where you really sell yourself to the reader. Grab them by expounding and highlighting some details not included on the resume; details that make you suited for the position. This is where some research helps greatly. Know the job you are applying for, try to find the particular school district's needs and requirements, and some of the duties and expectations you will be required to perform. Then focus this section on previous experience that demonstrates you have the ability to shine in this position. If you can tailor this portion of the resume with details that address the schools direct needs, it shows you have done your homework and may be that extra push that sets you apart.
As you close out the cover letter, thank them for their time, and state that you hope to get the chance to further discuss and demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Be sure the cover letter, like the resume itself, includes all pertinent contact information in case they get separated from each other. And before sending, have a friend or two proofread your letter and resume to assure you didn't by chance read over any mistakes.
Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, mail order book store manager, and an avid musician who is active in two local bands. He is also a lover of books, having a large personal library and squeezes in as much reading as often as he can. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Education Jobsite blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.