When applying for a job, a cover letter should be sent with your resume. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experience to those noted in the job posting. An effective cover letter should tell the employer why you are writing, why you are the best person for the job, and when you will contact him or her.
Cover letters do more than just introduce you and your resume to potential employers. They let you go in-depth about important experiences/skills and relate them to job requirements. They show the employer that you are individualizing this job application. They also provide a sample of your written communication skills. This article gives some valuable tips to guide you throughout the writing of your cover letter.
structure - There are four basic parts to a cover letter: heading, introduction, body, and a closing. Here are some tips on what to include in each section.
Heading - Provide your contact information here. Include the date. Also include the address of the company.
Introduction - Greet the specific person you address the letter to. If you don't know his/her name, write Dear Sir/Madam. State the position you are applying for and where you heard about it. State why you believe you are the right candidate. Mention 2-3 key qualifications that you will address in the rest of the letter. You can name drop if you have a good connection, but don't forget that some employers detest this practice.
Body - In the body of your cover letter you have to mention specifically how your qualifications match the job you are applying for. Focus each paragraph on one qualification. Give specific examples to prove where you got these skills and how you have used them before. Refer to your resume, don't repeat it. Tell a story; do not just list your skills. Do not use contractions.
Closing - Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good candidate. Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up.
Layout - Choose a selling design. Make sure that your cover letter is easy on the eye. Keep in mind, the reviewer of your cover letter has hundreds (if not thousands) of cover letters to look at, so make it easy for him/her to find the information you want to highlight. Keep your cover letter short (no longer than 1 page).