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Applying for Jobs: Cover Letter

Tips, strategies and pointers to help in your search for employment.

Tips for Writing a Successful Cover Letter

Quick Tips for Someone in a Hurry

  • Accompany each resume you send with a cover letter. While not always required, it is viewed as positive interest in the job and company.

  • Identify the position and company in which you are applying.

  • Watch the tone used. In other words, sound confident and enthusiastic.

  • Use the same heading on top as you did for your resume. 

More Thorough Tips for Those With Time

A cover letter is an introduction to your resume and qualifications.  It should include information about what you have to offer or can do for the company, why you will make a valuable employee, and other pertinent information that will capture the attention of the hiring manager.  The purpose of the cover letter is to demonstrate your communication and writing skills while distinguishing yourself from other applicants.

1. Target Your Message

Start by researching the organization and explain in concise, yet brief, detail how your skills, expertise and accomplishments can benefit the employer.  Indicate in the first paragraph the position you are applying for and how you learned about the position (e.g. internet, referral, etc.).  At then end of the letter, thank the reader for their time and consideration.

2. Be Purposeful

Just as you would a resume, tailor each cover letter to the job in which you are applying.  It is especially important to relate your skills and experience to that specific job in that specific company.  An effective letter incorporates the following: company knowledge, your enthusiasm for the position and organization, and communication skills.

3. Address the Letter to a Specific Individual

Ideally, the letter should be addressed to the person who is likely to make employment decisions.  If you do not know the contact person, call the human resources department and ask.  If you cannot find contact's name, then use "To Whom It May Concern:".

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