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How to Compile a Cover Letter

by Chiara Sakuwa

A cover letter is a vital selling point that accompanies a resume and expresses points of interest not covered in the resume. Not all positions require cover letters, but including one may demonstrate interest, initiative and enthusiasm beyond what is required. Unlike a resume, a cover letter focuses on why you are interested in a specific position. In other words, the cover letter provides an opportunity to demonstrate why you are a good fit while highlighting your soft skills, such as leadership, organizational skills and a positive attitude.

Head the cover letter properly by centering your name, address, telephone number and email address on the top of the page. Then place the appropriate date on the left-hand side. Put the name and title of the interviewer, if known, and then the company's name and address underneath on the left hand side. Place the salutation underneath the company information. Be as specific as possible.

Construct the opening paragraph. This paragraph should serve as a brief introduction of yourself in terms of the position for which you are applying. In this paragraph, explain how you learned about the position, why you are interested and how your skills, education and experience make you a good fit for the organization.

Compose the body paragraphs. The body is where you describe your skills and experiences in detail and how they match the qualification requirements of the position. It helps to give specific examples of situations where you excelled and increased overall quality and productiveness. Tailor your skill set to fit the company's needs throughout the body.

Summarize your cover letter with the appropriate closing. In the final paragraph, provide a brief summary of how your qualifications fit the position's requirements and the employer's organizational needs. Then request follow-up action by inviting the interviewer to contact you. Include a date and time frame during which you wish to be contacted and when you will be available to interview.

Tip

  • Thoroughly research the organization's policies, background, mission statement and history, as well as position specifics, thoroughly. This will help you better analyze how well your background credentials will fill the company's needs and make you a good fit.

Warnings

  • Never include a generic cover letter for multiple positions. Tailor each cover letter for each position to make the right impression.
  • Be sure your cover letter is grammatically correct and free of spelling errors or contradictory information. As with the resume, details can make or break an application process.

About the Author

Chiara Sakuwa has been a writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in publications such as the "Liberty Champion" newspaper and "The New World Encyclopedia" project. She is also the author of the novel "The Lady Leathernecks." She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Campbell University and a Master of Criminal Justice from Boston University.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images