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How To Write A Cover Letter

Nov 27, 2007
There are countless workshops out there on how to write a great resume. Even colleges offer a service to have your resume reviewed and if needed rewritten. You can buy software to help you write your resume. You can even hire someone to either help you write your resume or write it completely themselves. It's amazing how much help is given just to write a resume but yet there is no one to help you write a cover letter. In fact, most people don't even know what a cover letter is, why it's needed, let alone how to write it.

First let's address what a cover letter is. Those who have heard of cover letters might tell you it's a letter that accompanies your resume. Ok, but what does the letter entail? Is it a letter just saying "hi, please read my resume"? Is is a letter where you beg to be hired? Not exactly. You know how on the awards show like the Oscars, or the Golden Globes whenever an actor/actress receives a lifetime achievement award, they have someone come out and quickly recap their career before presenting them? Well a cover letter works somewhat along those lines. A cover letter presents you and your resume. A cover letter is going to tell an employer why, out of all the other applicants they have, they should interview you.

To begin, a good cover letter is short, and to the point. No cover letter should be more than 2-3 paragraphs long and it should NEVER be more than a page long. If you cover letter is more than a page long, then it is too long and will more than likely be tossed aside. Keep in mind the sole purpose of your cover letter is to sell yourself and land an interview. A cover letter that rambles on and on is not going to sell you. Keep it short and stay focused and stay to the point.

Your first paragraph is your introduction. This is the paragraph that tells the employer why you are applying for the job. This is also a good paragraph to show off your knowledge of the company and why you would be an ideal match for the position. You don't need to mention how you came across the position especially if it was something you saw in the paper or online. Unless it is from a mutual contact, the employer really doesn't care how you heard about them. They would much rather know what you heard about them and what you can bring to the table for them.

Your second paragraph is almost a recap of your resume. There is no need to recap your whole resume, only the highlights. Make sure though that those highlights pertain to the position you are applying for. There is no need to mention how you coordinate appointments for the VP of company XYZ if you are applying for a sales job. On the other hand, it would be good to point out how you helped increase sales in one quarter in your cover letter. This is where you show that your experience and your skills make you an ideal candidate for the position. It's where you really get to present your resume. This is the paragraph that is usually tailored to the company. It's where your research of the position will come into play. Remember you are only going to highlight those points of your resume that pertain to the position.

Your last and final paragraph should be your shortest. This is the key paragraph where you ask for that interview and give the employer options to contact you. This is also the paragraph where you can give the employer a date that you will follow up with them. While following up with them is an excellent idea, do not put it in your resume if you have no intention of calling them. It's not a necessity to do this, but it does leave a good impression on the employer. It shows them that you are not afraid to take initiative and go for what you want. Also, make sure you thank the employer for their time and consideration before you sign the letter.

Writing a cover letter can be a tad bit intimating. Follow these simple guidelines and you will sail through it and find your phone ringing sooner than you expect it for that interview. Remember your resume might get you that job, but your cover letter will get you in the door.
About the Author
Mario Churchill is a freelance author and has written over 200 articles on various subjects. For more information on make a cover letter checkout his recommended websites.
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