How to write a Cover Letter?

by on December 1, 2010

Writing a very good and effective resume is quite easy to do and above that if you are highly qualified for a job, then the work becomes much easy. But there is one thing that is of utmost importance: your cover letter. If in case you have a poorly written cover letter or a cover letter which is generic or misguiding, then it is likely that you are missing on a very nice opportunity. At times, a cover letter is the only opportunity you have to grab the attention of the employer since it indicates that your resume is worth reading. There are several ways in which you can write your cover letter, which always depends on the employer and the method of transmission.

Dos and don’ts before you write the cover letter:

Writing Cover Letter

  • It is very important that you update your resume and in case you don’t have a resume, it’s high time you make one. Don’t forget to list your experiences and skills but make sure while doing so you only mention things that are tailored to the particular position you’re applying for. Do not include irrelevant information and make your resume a lengthy one. Instead, add the strengths which are likely to benefit and would be desirable to your potential employer.
  • Do a proper research so that you can have quality information, which can be included in the form of facts that are related to the job you are walking in for. This information will not only help you when preparing the cover letter but also if you are shortlisted and called for an interview. There are a few things that should be known to you:
    • The employer’s mission and the things which they promote to make them stand out form the rest of the world and the competitive market?
    • The type of customers catered to by the employer and, the kind of people being targeted by the company?
    • The values, innovation, sustainability, diversity and services offered by the company or the organization?
    • The founder and the history of the organization should be known, along with proper details about the evolvement of the organization?
  • Go through the job description very thoroughly and note down all the needs of the organization. Look for all the important skills, qualifications and experience the employer is looking for, see to it if you possess the required skills and cross-check.
  • First of all, look for the name of the manager in charge of the department you are applying for. With the help of your network, see if you know someone in the company or the industry. Anyhow, if you fail to find a contact, call the HR department.

When you are writing the cover letter:

  • When talking about a paper cover letter, things like line spacing and address conventions come into play. However, while you are sending a cover letter online, which is not to be printed, the date would be enough to write. Do not forget to mention the address at the top around 1 inch down from the page top. While writing the date, make sure you skip at least 4 lines. Now skip another 4 lines and enter the Contact Person, then the name and address of the company. Write to a specific person.
  • The body of the paragraph should be from three to four paragraphs. The first paragraph should include information about the reason as to why you are writing this letter. One thing which is to be avoided in the opening is “I wish to apply for the position of ___ advertised in ___”. Your opening should be designed in such a way that makes the reader sit up and concentrate on your letter. Also, you must make it clear as to how did you come to know about the position. Your qualifications are to be mentioned in the second paragraph and the last paragraph, which should be around three to four lines and should include some information that makes the employer take a decision and act.
  • The last very important thing which is to be done by you is proofreading. Check for correct spellings and grammatical speaking. Try and avoid informal language because it is very important for you to sound as a professional, objective-oriented and educated. Moreover, your tone has to be professional and informative. It is very important for you to sell your skills in a very positive manner. Check for the punctuation marks properly.

Some things that your cover letter must include:

  • The person’s name to whom the letter is being addressed.
  • The position you are presently working on.
    • “Graduate student in environmental science”.
    • “Customer service professional”.
  • Your accomplishments or experience in the field in which you are applying.
    • “Fifteen years of customer service”.
    • “An outstanding background in scientific research and discovery”.
    • “A solid history of dependability in the automotive industry”.
  • A very positive and optimistic description of the employer.
    • “What many consider to be the most progressive medical institution in the state of Rhode Island”.
    • “A well-established company with a long history of gourmet creativity”.
  • Assets you can offer to the company. List one to three.
    • “Extensive experience with start-ups”.
    • “Demonstrated ability to solve problems”.
    • “Refined ability to manage teams”.
  • Key skill/experience/accomplishment and how it can help the company achieve its mission. List two to three of these. Be specific.

Some tips while writing a cover letter:

  • A cover letter has to act like a bridge between your resume and the position you’re seeking.
  • The heading of the cover letter or the resume should be in block letters. Choose a font that is simple but elegant. Useless decorative fonts must be avoided.
  • Be very succinct. Avoid using two words when one is enough.
  • Use a different cover letter for every job application.
  • Request for an interview in every cover letter and also be prepared for it.
  • Also, when you are mentioning your accomplishments do mention the problems that you have encountered in your past jobs and the way you handled them.

Video on How to write a cover letter by Gloria Camphbell

Sample Cover Letters

Bestcoverletters: A large collection of sample cover letters from Job application to rejection letters. You can find cover letters for Banking, Students, Salary requirements, Consulting, Judicial clerkship etc.

Quintcareers: Free professional cover letter samples bot job seekers.

Resumecoverletterexamples: Hundreds of resume cover letter examples.

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