Cover letters are an essential part of any effective application – a part that is often overlooked or not given enough time and energy. A well-written cover letter should increase the chances of an employer taking a good look at the resume, so it is important to give them the time they deserve. Even though a cover letter will be placed first when submitting an application, cover letters are usually best written after the resume has been completed.
Why should I write a cover letter?
- To introduce yourself to a perspective employer and tell them what type of work you want.
- To highlight your most notable qualifications, experiences, credentials, skills and achievements. This may even be something that you couldn’t fit on your resume.
- To identify the value you can bring to the organization. You should turn your “minuses” into “positives”
- To capture your reader’s interest in you, your resume, and your availability.
- To motivate the reader to call and offer you the opportunity for an interview.
The Rules: There Aren’t Any!
There is no one set format nor any set style. We are only presenting possibilities and suggestions. Cover letters are flexible and therefore allow you to positively present just those skills, qualifications, achievements, and credentials that you want to bring to a specific reader’s immediate attention.
Always, Always, Always…
- Use a computer and a laser or jet printer
- Customize your letter for every position you apply for
- Convey enthusiasm & commitment
- Keep your letter to one page max
- Read it over and envision the reader
DO’S AND DONT’S
- If possible, find out the name of the person in the company who will be doing the hiring.
- Instead of “Dear / Hiring Manager” use Re: Sales Associate Position
- Don’t forget: name, phone numbers, address, email address. You want to be sure they can contact your easily for an interview.
- Don’t use slang, or abbreviations (instant messaging shorthand).
- Be clear on the position that you are applying for and where you heard about it, employers may be hiring for multiple positions.
- Make your skills clear to the person reading the letter. If you have the skills mentioned in the job description, be sure to mention them as well in your cover letter.
- Keep it brief. While you want to mention any skills related to the position, don’t repeat your resume.
- Mention your knowledge of the company or industry. Make the employer think that it was not random choice of yours to apply for the position.