Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Cover Letter: Getting Your Foot in the Door

Your cover letter is the initial evaluation of your skills, your résumé, and your personality both as a worker and as a person. Your cover letter should remain brief and simple, but clear and concise. This may seem contradictory, but it the key is to wow your potential employer quickly so that he/she will review your résumé and hopefully request an interview.

Your cover letter should...
  • quickly introduce yourself and the position that you are applying for

  • describe your skills and how they can be applied to the company you are applying to

  • include a closing statement about your desire for an interview

In the first section, you must make sure that it clearly states the position that you are applying. You should indicate where you noticed the advertisement and make certain to include any reference numbers for the position or job advertisement.

In the second section, you should focus on describing your skills and work experience. It is important that you highlight and discuss your skills and experience as they relate to the job advertisement. You don't need to include all of your skills and experience, because your résumé will describe them in greater detail. Tell the potential employer what you will bring to the company, but do not overload your cover letter with non-essential information.

The final section of your cover letter deals with how they can contact you. Make sure you list the various methods of contacting you and that all your contact information is accurate.

A few writing tips:
  • Do not include long paragraphs and complicated sentence structure. Your cover letter will likely only be briefly scanned for key words and job specific skills and experience which should not get buried.

  • Keep your cover letter professional by using a plain font on white, crisp paper.

  • Do not exceed one page.

  • Re-read it several times to make sure that it includes all relevant information relating to the job advertisement, that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors, and that it includes your correct contact information.

Job Specific Cover Letter Samples:
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