A cover letter should be used as part of a limited, targeted campaign to reach potential employers. Take the time to research and understand a company before committing yourself on paper as a potential employee. Don't send your resume and cover letter in mass-marketing style in hopes of making a potential match. A successful cover letter should be specific and personal, and should express two important ideas:

  • What your skills can do for the company
  • What differentiates you from the rest of the market

If you are not sure of what sets you apart, consider your background and take note of areas in which you excel. Make that your number one focus in writing the cover letter.

Each cover letter should refer to a specific person at a specific company. Use appropriate greetings, proper grammar, and formal language. Remember to include your email address and telephone number on all messages.

Opening Paragraph

  • Express your interest in the position and organization
  • Share how you learned about the opportunity, especially if you were referred by an individual
  • Provide a broad overview of your most relevant experience and education

Middle Section

  • Summarize how your education, experience, and personal qualities prepare you for the position
  • Write to persuade the employer to read your resume without repeating your resume

Closing Paragraph

  • Reiterate your continued interest in the position and organization
  • Include a call to action providing contact information
  • If the letter is coming without a particular job posting related to it, provide your availability to meet or talk on the telephone
  • Thank the employer for their consideration
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