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Career Basics: Cover LettersCover Letters

The cover letter is your sales pitch and the first impression a prospective employer gets, so make it amazing. A ho hum letter may get the employer to read your resume, but a sensational letter will get you an interview. The letter should not only demonstrate why you are perfect for this position and how the company will benefit from your expertise, but should demonstrate your command of the English language and your communication skills.

The Parts of a Cover Letter

  • Opening - Introduce yourself, explain why you are writing and how you learned about the position
  • Body - Outline your qualifications, demonstrate why you are perfect for the job, cite examples of your work
  • Closing - State your desire for an interview, highlight contact information, say thank you

Suggestions

  • No I's or Me's - Use the words "I" and "me" sparingly. The company wants to know what you can do for them. If you use 27 I's, it looks like your are only concerned about yourself.
  • Be Clear and Concise - Give enough information to interest the employer, but do not tell your life story. Cite only a few examples or highlight a few of the experiences on your resume.
  • Find a Contact - Send your letter to a person. Call and get the name of the person in charge of this hiring committee, or at least the director of human resources. If you know of someone in the company, ask them to pass your resume on to the appropriate person.
  • Use Job Description Wording - Use key phrases from the job description. This will cause the reader to think you are exactly what they are looking for in an employee.
  • Be Positive - Mention only your strong points. Do not mention anything negative, even with a disclaimer.