How to Write an Effective Resume Cover Letter
There has to be a resume cover letter every time you send an application resume. This one-page letter alone can make a difference in the result of your job application. But what is a cover letter and how does it differ from a resume?
A resume cover letter is something that many people leave out in their job applications. Little do they realize that employers look at a cover letter to essentially judge you and your attitude towards work. Writing a cover letter is an indication of how meticulous you are and how serious you are about getting the job. For one, the cover letter is always tailor fit to the company’s needs since your letter will only highlight your skills and experiences related to the job you are applying for.
The Cover Letter Format
Since the resume cover letter is an official business letter, you do not write it in the same manner as you would with a personal letter. There is a format you need to follow and your compliance to this is also an indication of how detail-oriented you are. Below you will see the expected content of the cover letter and later on, we will get deeper into the content.
This is the part where you place your name, address, contact number, and email address. If you have seen an official business letter, this is equivalent to the letterhead found at the top of the page. You can also place this flushed left of the paper instead of centered on top.
Employer Contact Information
This is the area where you place the contact details of your employer. Make sure the name and position of this contact person is in this area. If you do not know the name, just write, The Hiring Manager. On the next line, place the complete company name. On the next line, place the complete street address.
Make sure you greet the employer properly with a “Dear Sir” or Dear Ma’am.” Never use “To whom it may concern.” You can use “Dear Sir/Ma’am” just to be on the safe side.
Cover Letter Body
You will learn more about this in the coming para.
Closing and signature
Do not forget to put a closing salutation and signature. This is a standard in all business letters.
The Cover Letter Body
When writing the body of your resume cover letter, there are some things you should keep in mind. The cover letter body should not contain whatever you just thought about to write. There is a pattern or an expected style. The paragraph’s content should also be aligned with these expectations. Ideally, your resume cover letter should not exceed four paragraphs. You want to keep it short so your reader is not bored. This also allows the reader to see that you are concise.
The first paragraph should contain your intent to apply and the position you are applying for. Make sure you include the job title and where you found out about the opening for the job post. The second paragraph should describe what you can do for the employer. This is where you highlight your skills and accomplishments in relevance to the position. This is where you essentially sell yourself in your resume cover letter.
The last paragraph should invite the employer to interview you. Tell the employer of your availability and that you will follow up if you do not hear from them. This is also the part where you thank the employer for reading your letter.
The Sample Cover letter
Below we have placed a sample resume cover letter to let you see how you should format the different parts of your cover letter.
City, State, ZIP
Employer Title or Position
City, State and ZIP
Paragraph One (flush this justified)
Paragraph Two (flush this justified)
Paragraph Three (flush this justified)
Always remember, your cover letter should be targeted to your employer’s needs. Writing a lot about things that do not have relevance the job will leave a bad taste in the mouth. Too often, people who write cover letters expound so much on their experiences that have no relevance to the job at hand. Focus on the skills that you have to offer from which the employer will benefit. If you do not know what these are, look at the job advertisement again.
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