Cover Letter Assistance

The Basics for Writing a Cover Letter

Cover Letter:
  Perhaps just as important as your resume, your cover letter should highlight your accomplishments as well as serve as a writing sample.  Your skillfully crafted cover letter acts as an appetizer to employers by incorporating just enough information about your abilities and achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for without leaving you empty handed if called into an interview.  Your cover letter should include three main themes:

• Explain why you are writing/sending your resume
• What skills/abilities you have to offer the employer
• Who will follow up

Once you have constructed a rough draft of your cover letter, be certain to do the following:

Customize it!  Your cover letter should touch upon specific requirements for each job you apply for.  Be certain to incorporate key words from the job posting directly.  Mass produced or generic cover letters are easy to spot.

Name drop!  If someone has given you the upper hand by telling you about a position with the company, do not hesitate to use their name with permission.   For example “Jane Doe suggested I contact you about your opening in marketing.”

• Make it match.  Your cover letter should use the same font, margins, and paper that you use for your resume.

Get a second opinion.  Make certain to have someone with a fresh set of eyes edit your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors.  It is often difficult to proof your own work.


10 Quick Cover Letter Tips:

1. Be consistent.  Your cover letter should match your resume’s paper, font, and heading.

2. Identify the job you are applying for. Don’t make the employer guess what you are interested in or match you to the best possible position, you may be eliminated from consideration.

3. Proofread.  Make sure you proofread your cover letter and allow someone else to look at it is as well.

4. Watch your length. Cover letters should not exceed one page.

5. Demonstrate Company Knowledge. Make certain to include at least one fact about the company in your letter.

6. Stick to the point. Your sentence structure should be clear and concise, but be careful not to sound distant or cold.

7. Sell yourself. Make sure to generate excitement in your audience by emphasizing your strengths.

8. Keep it positive. Be certain to explain things in your resume that might cause alarm, such as employment gaps, however, make sure to spin it in the best possible way.

9. Quantify your experiences.  Tell employers how you accomplished tasks or achieved goals.

10. Keep a copy. It’s important to keep a copy of what you sent to an employer especially if you are applying to multiple positions. It is also wise to keep a copy of the job posting or other related materials. You never know when you may need to refer to something.


Additional Cover Letter Resources:

Cover Letter Example #1Cover Letter Example #2