How to write a Cover Letter

Your cover letter is your chance to make a good first impression with a potential employer and it is arguably more effective than your resume. Resumes are usually impersonal lists of experiences, education and achievements. Your cover letter allows you to tell an appealing story that provides a personal, relatable context for your resume. It allows you to make yourself stand out from the crowd of applicants, it provides you with the chance to convince a recruiter to read your resume and it lets you explain how your experiences tie into the opening to which you are applying to.

Before starting to write a cover letter, you should be sure that you have carefully read the job description. Highlight qualifications and tasks that relate to your profile and make sure that, if there are any gaps in your resume, you can explain them with your cover letter.

It is also essential to research the organization which you are applying to and, if possible, the hiring manager who will be reviewing your resume. Your cover letter is your first chance to express how your mindset matches up with that of the organization and make a personal connection with the hiring manager.

Your cover letter should be formatted clearly and professionally. Many cover letters are sent by email. If they are sent as an attachment, you should format them as you would format professional correspondence.  If they are sent in the body of an email, heading elements can be skipped, as they may look odd.

Your first paragraph should identify the position for which you are applying. More importantly, it should grab the hiring recruiter’s attention and make it clear that you are a great candidate for the position.

 

Gail Esparan

In your middle paragraph, you should emphasize how your skills match the requirements of the position. Include elements about the company you are applying to. This will not only emphasize that you are serious about the job and not sending out a generic letter, but it will also make it easier for you to show how you can help the organization in reaching its goals.

The last paragraph should accomplish four main tasks. You should direct the employer to your resume, ask for an interview, indicate a time period during which you will get in touch with them and express your appreciation to them for their time and consideration.

Once your letter is ready, do not forget to proofread it. Grammatical and spelling mistakes should be avoided at all costs. Delete colloquialisms and contractions. Your cover letter should be less than a page long. Be succinct and clear; do not provide too much extraneous information. Also, make sure that your language is specific rather than vague. Tell the reader exactly what experiences you have had that make you well-suited to the position, not just that you have experience.

Ensure that your resume cover letter looks professional, and, if possible, matches your resume. Use a simple, clean font. If you are sending a physical letter rather than an email, use the same type of paper as your resume. If you are sending an electronic version, use the recommended file format