A cover letter is a short one page letter that accompanies your resume when applying for a job. It addresses why you’re applying and why they should hire you. It should grab the employer’s attention and show why you’re the best person for the job.
TAILOR YOUR COVER LETTER!
Your cover letter MUST be tailored to the specific position and organization that you’re applying to. Do some research to find out who will read your letter and resume and address it to them. Identify the specific needs and characteristics of the position and speak to those in your cover letter. NEVER use a generic cover letter. If you come across genuinely interested in the position, then they will be genuinely interested in you.
HOW DO I WRITE ONE?
Your cover letter should have the contact info and date at the top. It should be addressed to someone in particular if you can find the right person. It should have three paragraphs and conclude with your name. Check out our sample cover letters here.
- Top of the page on the left side:
Dear Mr./Ms. X, (If you don’t know you can write To Whom It May Concern: or Dear Sir or Madam:)
- 1st Paragraph: State which position at which organization you are applying for. If referred by someone, mention it here. Express your interest in the position.
- 2nd Paragraph: Describe your strongest qualifications for the position. This is not the time to repeat your resume, but to talk about what skills you learned. (Teamwork, multitasking, organizational, etc.) Reference the qualifications and tie them to your previous experiences. The first sentence should be hard hitting. The last sentence should summarize the paragraph and tie in your passion/interest for the position.
- 3rd Paragraph: Summarize why you are the best person for this position and why they should hire you in particular. Refer to your attached/enclosed resume. Thank them for their consideration.
- Signature: Sincerely, Your Full Name
- Short & Sweet. 1 page, 3 paragraphs, 3-5 sentences each.
- Fonts. Match the font style to your resume and use size 12. Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial.
- Attachments. When applying via email, write the cover letter in the body of the email AND attach it as a separate document. And of course, attach your resume.
- Follow directions! If they ask for writing samples or references include them as separate documents.
- Proofread!!! Spelling, punctuation, font size, font type, margins, spacing…