The Cover Letter in Six Simple Steps

Most people treat the cover letter like an unwanted step child.  The cover letter is the partner of the resume.  There are  3 main reasons for using the cover letter.

1.      The company requests that you write one

 2.      You really want the job and the cover letter conveys a level of interest not readily available in your resume

 3.      You are soliciting the company directly for employment although they have expressed no interest in hiring you or anyone else.

 The cover letter is a brief introduction to your resume. It is also sales document.  The cover letter should be short overview of all that will follow within the resume.  The purpose of this document is to make personal contact with the hiring manager or recruiter.  Your cover letter should not be a restatement of your resume.  Instead it should summarize how you can add value to the organization and provide a reason for the reader to peruse your resume.

 A cover letter contains 6 main points

 1.  Heading- it should contain your name and contact information

 2.  Greeting- Determine who the hiring manager will be.  Address your letter to this individual If this information is unavailable use “Dear Recruiter/Hiring Manager”.

 3.  The first paragraph is your introduction indication how you came to know of the position.  State briefly why you are fit for the opening. Indicate briefly what you intend to add to the company

 4.  The second paragraph is the body which establishes why you should be hired

 5.  The final paragraph should be a proactive closing indicating that you will follow up. And or if no contact information is provided suggest to the reader that you are available for an interview.   Thank the reader for their time and attention. 

 6.  Close with a phrase such as

  •  “With warm regards”,
  •  “Cordially”,
  •  “Respectfully”,
  •  “With great enthusiasm”
  •   “With good wishes”

Everyone uses “Sincerely” so your cover letter will be memorable because you branded yourself from the competition by closing differently.

 Keep the document short and simple.  Nine or twelve skillfully written sentences are sufficient.  Keep your reader in mind:  he or she has many cover letters and resumes to read so your cover letter should be a brief respite of fresh air.

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