Employers often require job seekers to send a professional cover letter along with job application and resume. The cover letter is designed to complement your resume and allows you to formally introduce yourself to the hiring manager. If you fail to send your cover letter appropriately, it can result in missed job opportunities. It only takes a few minutes to create and send a winning cover letter.
Read through the job announcement to determine which method the employer prefers for cover letter submissions. Also look for the name of the hiring manager. If the hiring manager's name does not appear in the job posting, contact the employer directly to get it.
Use business letter formatting when creating the cover letter. This format includes the header, salutation, body and closing. The header includes your return address, the date, employer's name and employer's mailing address.
Include the hiring manager's name in the salutation, as opposed to using a generic greeting.
Limit the body of your cover letter to three paragraphs. The first paragraph is an introductory paragraph advising the hiring manager that you are writing to express interest in the job. Mention the job title and how you learned of the job opening.
Use the second paragraph to tell the hiring manager why she should consider you for the position. Briefly mention your experience, skills and qualifications. Use the last paragraph to ask for an interview. Include your telephone number, email and best time to contact you.
Close the letter with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Respectfully.” Include your typewritten name and handwritten signature.
Do a spell check to ensure there are no grammar or punctuation errors in your cover letter. Most word processing software includes a spell check tool. Free spell check tools are available online.
Submit your cover letter, along with your resume, to the hiring manager according to the instructions in the job posting, whether through email, fax, postal mail or in person. Using the wrong method to submit your cover letter reveals an inability to follow instructions. As such, the hiring manager may refuse to review your cover letter or consider you for the position.
- Dynamic Graphics/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images