Cover Letter Essentials: What You Need to Know

Many job seekers may think that their resume is the only document they have to worry about when applying for a new job, but a cover letter can be just as important.  Often times the cover letter is an after thought, if not completely forgotten, but it is an integral part of the process and something every applicant should take seriously and put thought and effort into.  The cover letter will lead into your resume,  you want it to be a good opening act and make a great first impression, so hopefully the employer will move on to look at your resume.  Below are the cover letter essentials- what you need to know when writing this important little letter:

  1. ALWAYS write a cover letter.  No excuses.  Whether you are sending an email to a staffing service or hiring manager, or applying on a website, always, always send a cover letter.  You will look much more professional and prepared than someone who doesn’t.
  2. Personalize each cover letter.  It is important for the employer to know you are not just sending around a generic cover letter.  You will look more interested in the position if you personalize the cover letter by mentioning the position and company and explaining why you would be a good fit for them. Also, mention why you are applying for the job, and who, if anyone, recommended that you apply.  Any connections you have at the company should be stated in the cover letter.
  3. Stay professional.  Address the letter to Mr. or Mrs. and not to the person’s first name, especially if you have never spoken to them before. End the letter with a salutation such a sincerely, and then you name.  You don’t want to come off too casual in this letter.
  4. Keep it short and sweet.  Hiring managers do not have a lot of time to be reading long winded cover letters, so get to the point and get to it fast.  You will need more than one or two sentences, but a few short paragraphs should do the trick.
  5. Proofread.  Make sure to carefully read over your cover letter, and even have someone else read it over if you can.  You don’t want to be dismissed from a job for a silly spelling mistake or grammatical error.  This is the easiest part- so read that cover letter over!

All of these tips are important to remember, but most of all remember to be yourself!  Don’t be afraid to put a little personality in there to let the employer know who you are, and what sets you apart.

Do you have any suggestions for cover letter writing?  Let us know!