In a competitive job market, one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal is the cover letter. A cover letter provides the first impression of you to your future employer. It outlines your skills, your knowledge of the company, your experience, why you are right for the job, and demonstrates your professionalism through the letter's language and format. Taking the time to write an effective cover letter could be the difference between continuing on the job hunt and getting an interview.
Properly address the letter. Include the full name and address of the company. Put this information in the top left-hand corner of the page. Direct the letter to the attention of the person hiring for the position. If you do not know who is hiring for the position, call the company and ask. If it is unclear whether the person is male or female from the name, ask their gender. Address the body of the letter to that person, using the proper Mr. or Ms. salutation.
Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. State briefly who you are and the job you are applying for. It is also a good idea to state how you found out about the position, whether it was through an online advertisement, recruiter or company website.
Give a brief summary of your qualifications. This will include the skills, experience, education and attributes most relevant to the position you are applying for. Briefly explain how those qualifications fit with what the company is looking for. Highlight any positive impressions you have of the company and why you would like to work for them. Link this back to your attributes to demonstrate that you are the best fit for the position.
Tell the reader how they can contact you. Be sure to include all contact information, including home and cell phone numbers, email address, and mailing address.
Review your cover letter before mailing it. Ensure it is no more than one page long, has impeccable grammar and no spelling errors. Double-check the spelling of the contact's name and company name. Ask a friend or editor to review your letter to be sure your writing is effective and focused.
Unless the employer specifies otherwise, always type your covering letter. Be sure to sign it.
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