A cover letter is an introductory letter. You normally attach this letter while mailing your curriculum vitae or résumé to prospective employers. You can also write a cover letter for presentation of scientific articles at seminars. Your cover letter is often the prologue of your résumé. Hence, it decides the outcome of your résumé with the employer or company in consideration.
Your résumé is normally a general document and remains the same while mailing to different companies. However, a cover letter highlights and details specific parts of your resume as suitable to the company you are considering applying for a job. Your cover letter and your resume combine to decide the outcome of your application.
A cover letter kindles the interest of employer to look through your resume in detail. Hence, you should research into the company in question before writing respective cover letter. This helps you pinpoint your suitability to the company.
A cover letter should ideally follow a specific format. A better presentation of the cover letter is to write in paragraphs than through bulleted points. Besides, it should be specific and mention important points. At the same time, you should not rush through. The important components of a cover letter are introduction, body, and closing.
The introduction paragraph of your cover letter should be crypt with just two or three sentences. This paragraph specifies the job you are applying for and how you gathered information about the job-from any personal contacts or through newspaper advertisements. You should address your prospective employer by name.
The body of your cover letter spreads over two or three paragraphs. Here you detail your qualifications with additional reference to your attached resume. Additionally, pick out relevant and special points from your qualifications, which could prove very suitable to the company. Therefore, you stand a better chance of being very productive to the company.
However, you should enumerate your skills and experience as useful to the company. You can detail your qualifications, work experience, and other relevant skills in this part of your cover letter. Rather, you should not impose yourself on the employer.
The closing paragraph of your cover letter should be equally impressive. This paragraph should request for an appropriate response like an interview call or any other positive approach. You can specify the place and your telephone number so that your prospective employer can reach you easily.
Nevertheless, you should not be too assertive or pushy to force your employer to consider you for an interview. This sends wrong signals to the employer. Always close this paragraph of your cover letter by thanking your prospective employer for giving you time and consideration.
John Murray publishes a blog filled with helpful articles about how to write great cover letters.