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Typically, applicants do not pay much attention to the cover letter format of their letters of intent. Writing a cover letter is not hanky-panky. It is a terrible lapse of judgment if you write one without planning what it should contain or not knowing the correct cover letter formats that business executives want and expect to see.
A common misconception is that the resume is more important than the cover letter. The fact is that most employers do not even bother looking at your resume if you do not have an impressive cover letter. This means that you have to polish this very well or your application will only be discarded. Since this letter is of business nature, it is imperative that you follow a few basic guidelines of business writing. If you do not do this, you do not stand a chance against those who do.
There are three basic rules for a cover letter format. Later on, we will discuss more. Here, we will first discuss what your paragraphs should contain. There should only be three paragraphs in your cover letter. Avoid writing long letters because employers’ time is very valuable and they receive hundreds, if not thousands, of letters during the application period.
In a standard cover letter format, the first paragraph should contain your reason for writing. There is no point beating around the bush. On your first sentence, hit the bull’s eye on the spot and tell the reader that you are interested for a position in the company. If you do not do this, you are risking your reader getting bored and immediately perceive you as long and winding.
The middle paragraph should focus entirely on the things that you can offer. This is the part where you sell yourself. The composition of your sentences should be very crisp and concise. This paragraph should tell your reader your accomplishments and show the employer the benefit of hiring you. You may want to put your achievements and major accomplishments in this section. Just make sure that the things you write are relevant to the position you are applying for.
The last paragraph in this cover letter format should contain your invitation for an interview. Ask the employer to interview you so you could further your career. You need to provide your contact details and availability in this section. Lastly, you need to tell the employer when you intend to follow up should you not hear from them.
Below are some general tips to improve your cover letter. These tips will help you refine what you have written and will surely give your letter a boost compare to other applicants.
• Use your connections, name dropping is good because it raises curiosity and builds trust. Dropping a name somehow forces an employer to hire you because you have mutual acquaintances.
• Never use the phrase “To Whom It May Concern.” This gives the impression that you did not do your homework in finding out the employer or hiring manager’s name. If you really do not know the name of the hiring manger, just write “Dear Sir/Ma’am:”
• Lastly, do not be too uptight. Your cover letter should flow freely and sound conversational. Too formal and it will look bland. Keep it in a way in that tells the hiring manager that you have got personality and style.
A business letter is not like writing to a friend or relative. There is a specific cover letter format that you need to follow in order. If you miss one of these things, the employer is likely to think that you do not pay attention to details and you are not meticulous enough to polish your own work.
First off, do not forget to put your contact information. This should contain your name, complete street address, telephone number, and email address. This should be followed by the employer’s contact information. If you do not know the employer’s name, simply put “The Hiring Manager”, followed by the company name and complete street address. Next, write the letter in a standard format using a salutation as suggested earlier. Move on to writing the body and make sure we follow the recommendations given above. Lastly, do not forget to put a closing salutation.
You must realize by now that writing a letter of intent on a standard cover letter format shouldn’t be so difficult. Doing this gives you more chances of acing the spot for an interview among thousands of other applicants.