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How to Write a Cover Letter – Tutorial

If a resume appropriately lists your job qualifications, a cover letter serves more as a sales pitch. The reason why stating your intention to apply for a job (in a cover letter) is important, is because you are demonstrating your skills and qualification for being considered as the perfect match for the position.

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Employers receive heaps of resumes to review for any given job advertised and, out of those, they may select only a few candidates to finally interview. A powerful, well-written cover letter can often make the difference between getting called for an interview and getting passed over.

Here’s what you should do to get your cover letter noticed.

Don’t Write an Autobiography

Thousands of job seekers make the mistake of drafting the cover letter as a lengthy autobiography. The cover letter format is not exactly the occasion to summarize your background; you have already done that in your resume. To ask the employer to read the same thing twice would be a waste of a recruiter’s time. And it probably would land your resume and cover letter in the wastebasket.

List the Best of your Accomplishments

In a cover letter, job candidates must find a way to stand apart from the rest of the job seekers. The perfect way to do this is to highlight one or two of your accomplishments capabilities. You want to show you are an above-average candidate for the advertised position.

Highlighting one or two of your unique qualities will pique the interest of the employer. Once you get to the interview stage, you can elaborate on the rest of your accomplishments and abilities.

If you are not sure what differentiates you from other job seekers, find out! Make note of the areas in which you excel. Maybe you are creative or good at math or a computer whiz. Whatever your particular strengths are, focus on them in your cover letter.

Show Interest in the Employer

Let the employer know that you have consumed time to understand and research the company. By saying something profound in your cover letter about the company or its products, services, and philosophy, you show that you are genuinely interested in the job and the company.

Employers can spot an applicant who is blindly sending out hundreds of resume cover letters with generic cover letters. The ideal cover letter should be precise and personal. Each letter should be addressed to a specific person at a company.

Use this Cover-Letter Formula

Writing a good cover letter isn’t that difficult, once you know the formula. Here are the steps to follow when it’s time to write yours:

  • Use a standard business letter format. The employer’s name and title and the company name and address should appear on the top left.
  • Address the cover letter directly to a real person. Take time to find out who the hiring person is. If you are writing to a woman, use “Ms.,” even if you know her marital status.
  • The beginning paragraph should answering this question: “Why are you writing?” Make sure, you want to talk about how you can meet the company’s needs, not about your own needs.
  • In the second paragraph, you should briefly state one or two of your important qualifications that pertain to the specific position. These should be immediately followed by the benefits that these qualities (and you as a person) will provide to the company.
  • The third paragraph should sound like closing a deal. In closing the sale, you should request (not demand) the employer’s consideration.

Cover-Letter Checklist

When you’re done with writing your cover letter, mark the following checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything:

  • Is your cover letter no longer that one page?
  • Does your letter include three paragraphs focused on the employer’s needs, not on yours?
  • Does your letter look professional enough to make an impression. It must also typed single-spaced, with proper punctuation and grammar.
  • Is your letter addressed to a particular person?
  • Does your letter contain the company’s complete name and address?
  • Did you close with the word “Sincerely” (anything else may be too personal)?

Final Thoughts

If you wait for the employer to call you, your odds of contact decrease drastically. It usually takes a proactive approach on your part to move the process to the next level, the interview.

If you make the effort to contact the employer, you will get a response. Persistence is good, but make sure you don’t push too hard and become annoying. Also, avoid calling if the ad specifically mentions a no phone call policy. Hundreds of other candidates may be trying for the same position, so be the one who leaves an impact with your perfectly written cover letter by following these useful steps.

Cover Letter Samples and Writing Guide –

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