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How To Write An Effective Cover Letter

Aug 17, 2007
It is imperative that the appropriate time and effort be devoted to writing effective cover letters. A cover letter should complement your resume. It's a customized letter, which interprets the facts mentioned in the resume. It states the reason for your interest in a particular company and your skills and experiences, your knowledge and interest about the position.

There are three types of cover letters:

1. Application letter, which is sent for job interviews.
2. Prospecting letter, which inquires about the available positions.
3. Networking letter, which seeks information and assistance for a job.

Although writing a cover letter may seem like a difficult task at first, you can become an expert very soon if you follow certain steps.

Format Of A Cover Letter:

Every letter has it's own unique style, but a basic format of a business letter should be kept in mind while writing a cover letter. It should have three paragraphs: introduction, main body and the closing.

First Paragraph

a. While writing an application letter, the first paragraph should state the purpose for your writing. State your reasons for being interested in a particular position. If someone has referred you be sure to mention him. If you are writing in response to an advertisement, mention the place and title of the position. Bring to the employer's notice the match between your skills and experiences and the job requirements.
b. While writing a prospecting letter, your specifications and requirements for the position should be stated.
c. While writing a networking letter, the request for assistance for searching a job should be clearly mentioned.

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph should mention your skills and experiences and what you can offer to them if given the job and how your particular abilities relate to the job. Focus on your potential to fulfill the job requirement and skills possessed by you useful for that position. Elaborate on how your interests and strengths can be relevant and useful to the employer and the company. Emphasize your achievements and goals and relate them to the position you are applying for. This is the main body of the letter in which you should describe how you satisfy the job requirements and are suitable for the position.

Third Paragraph

In the third paragraph you conclude the letter by expressing your interest and enthusiasm in the job and when and where the employer can contact you. Provide necessary information like your address, telephone number or email address so that the employer can follow-up at his convenience. Do not end the letter in a pessimistic tone but with a positive attitude as though you are sure of the employer wanting to hire you. Close your letter by always thanking the employer for his time and consideration, just like in any other business letter. Also, mention that references are available on request. Try to keep it short and simple.

Always remember to use good quality paper for a cover letter. Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical or printing errors and address it to the right person.

A cover letter adds your personal touch to the resume and enables you to highlight your qualifications and your abilities. It allows you to express your confidence in your ability to do the job. And it gives you and opportunity to emphasize your credentials. It should attract enough attention so that the employer proceeds to read on. Cover letters allow you to express what you can contribute to the company if given the job. Cover letters should be written in a way that creates the maximum positive impact on the employer.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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