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The Cover Letter

The most popular advice for writing cover letters usually involves using a template, but the point of a cover letter is to get personal and write specifically to the company about their specific job opening. When applying for a job, the cover letter is just as important as the resume. The resume is a tool to provide potential employers a list of what you can do.  On the other hand, the cover letter, if used correctly, allows you to elaborate on your experience and explain why you would be the best fit for the job.

The Header
The header on your cover letter should be the exact same as the header you have created for your resume.   In addition to your name, your phone number, email address, and mailing address should also be included.  This information should be formatted in an organized manner and placed at the top of the page.

Contact Information
Next, the contact information of the intended reader should be included.  This information should list the contact’s name, title, company and company address.

The Body
The body of your cover letter is your chance to prove why you would be the best candidate for the position.  The following format for the body should be followed:

  • Paragraph One:
    The first paragraph is when you write why you are applying for the specific position.  The reason is often to earn the chance to speak with someone about the position.  This would be the place to mention any mutual contacts but also remember that this paragraph should be brief and concise.
  • Paragraphs Two and Three:
    The middle portion of the letter should be directly related to your experience and what exactly makes you the best match for the position.  Use your past experience and explain how it has prepared you for the position for which you are applying. It is important to use this section as an elaboration of your resume – not a repetition.  This is your chance to provide any explanation that you see necessary.
  • Paragraph Four:
    The last paragraph should also be brief.  This paragraph should simply thank the reader for considering you for the position and that you have included your resume.  It is important to mention how you will follow up.

Close and Signature
Your close should be professional and respectful such as “Best Regards” or “Respectfully Yours”.  This should be followed by your handwritten signature and your name typed directly below.  This shows a personal touch but is still professional.

 

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