Cover Letter Guide
- The purpose of a cover letter is to accompany your resume and provide you with an opportunity to introduce yourself and expand upon your objective
- Describe the personal qualities you would bring to the position
- Highlight how your skills and knowledge can serve the employer’s needs
- Convince the employer to invite you for an interview
A. Personal Qualities
What impression do you want your cover letter to convey to the reader? A clever way to relate your qualities is to let someone else do the talking about you. What would your last supervisor say about your efforts on the job? How would your coach describe you? What would your friends or teammates say about your personal attributes? What excites you about working with this population, in this organization? After reading your cover letter, you should be able to step away and write down five words that accurately describe your most important qualities.
B. Functional Skills
How can you best contribute to the organization? What do you offer that is unique to you? Why should you be invited for an interview? Your cover letter should specifically highlight your strongest skills. Carefully review the job description to identify the key skills which the employer has indicated and refer to those you can document to create a match, a “notion of fit. Make sure you know your audience and have some knowledge of the employer.
- Never use a generic letter. Personalize each letter.
- Tell a story, give examples, be original, use conversational language.
- Convince the reader, you are the "right" person for the job!
Cover Letters Online
Increasingly job seekers are being asked to send their resumes and cover letters online. Online cover letters should be about half the length of a regular cover letter. Be as concise as possible. Use key words that will identify what you are looking for and what you have to offer. Most companies prefer that your resume and cover letter be included in the text of the e-mail, rather than sent as an attachment. Use your software's "copy and paste" feature to enter text into your e-mail.