For many people new to job-seeking, cover letters seem unnecessary. Youve already sent a resume, so why waste time writing a cover letter? A well-written cover letter is a perfect ice-breaker between you and the employer who is one step away from reading your resume. Employers like to glance over cover letters to get a general idea of the resume theyre
about to read. Cover letters introduce you; they convey the true first impression. Cover letters must be well-written and interesting, perhaps even more so than the resume. Heres how to do it. LEARN THE BASICS
Your cover letter needs to address the same essential things: why youre contacting this person, who you are, and how you plan to follow up. Dedicating a brief paragraph to each of these things will keep your reader engaged and also make it easy for him or her to find the information they need. Paragraph One
: The Letters Purpose:
State your purpose immediately after the initial greeting. Be as specific as possible; if someone has referred you, say so and give the persons name. If there was no referral, then mention where you heard of the job. Remember always to convey your enthusiasm for the opportunity; the employer will appreciate your excitement and willingness. Paragraph Two
: Your Qualifications: Though it wont be as in-depth as your resume, youll need to briefly outline your qualifications. Since youre doing this in a limited space, youll need to position yourself
immediately as the person for this job. If youre responding to an ad or a referral, then mention your qualifications specifically with what they claim to be looking for; otherwise, mention some facts youve come across as you researched the company (youve done that, right?). And always, always, keep the focus on what you can offer the company, not what the company can offer you. Paragraph Three
: The Intended Follow-Up: In this conclusion paragraph, restate the enthusiasm conveyed in paragraph one and indicate when and how you plan to follow up. Mention if you
have references or a portfolio upon request and make sure to give every piece of your contact information and the best times to reach you. TARGET AND CUSTOMIZE
Employers often receive hundreds of responses to their job openings, and any flaw in your qualifications might cause them to throw your cover letter and resume in the rejection pile. Target only jobs you know you can do well and position your experience directly within the qualifications for those jobs. Dont bother mentioning anything irrelevant; maybe you have a degree in art history, but that wont
do you any good if youre looking for a job in publishing.
Its also important to customize your cover letters for each individual recipient. A form letter may be easier for you, but it will look amateurish and lazy to a professional in any industry. Take the time to write a letter specifically for each employer; this attention to detail will fare better for you in the long run of your job search.