With today’s faster pace and newer technology for job searches and application tracking, do people really need to send a cover letter when seeking jobs?
Most people would say no. Yet if your goal as a job-search candidate is to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, doing something that other candidates do not always do is a terrific way to show that you truly care.
Well-written cover letters are a terrific way to introduce yourself to an organization. With this one document, you can let them know why you are interested in the position as well as the mission of the organization. A cover letter is a conversation piece that can demonstrate how you have the skills, qualifications and experience that a company seeks. It offers a unique opportunity to market yourself and a medium to further explain details in your resume.
Guide to Cover Letters
- When writing your cover letter, use a standard font like Times New Roman, Arial, Geneva, or Calibri, in sizes from 10-12 points to make sure the letter is legible both in print and on screen.
- Make sure the header of your cover letter matches your resume, and includes your name, address, phone number and email.
- Research the name, title and company of the person you should be addressing this important correspondence. If you are unsure, contact the organization and ask to whom you should address it.
- Match the salutation to a name, to avoid putting “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” As a last resort you can use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Manager.”
- In your first paragraph, state your purpose for contacting the employer, including mentioning the position you are applying for and where or how you learned about the position or employer.
- In your second paragraph, offer approximately three skills mentioned in the job description that qualify you for the position. You want to demonstrate how you (specifically) meet the company’s needs.
- In the third paragraph, thank the employer for considering your candidacy, and state your availability for an interview, the best way to contact you, and how you will follow up.
- Place your signature after either “Respectfully yours”, “Sincerely”, or “Best regards.” If you include any attachments, state towards the bottom of the letter that there is an “Enclosure: Resume.”
- Make sure to apply correct grammar, use spell check, and have others proofread the document before you send it. Read the letter out loud a few times to see if the language flows naturally and is easy to read.
- Once submitted, always be sure to follow up in the manner in which you mentioned. It’s an essential part of the process, and shows the company your skills of organization, follow-through, and professionalism.
(written by: Crystal)