Your cover letter is just as important as your resume. Cover letters offer you an early opportunity to highlight your experience specific to a position or company. Any time you are responding to an advertised opening, inquiring with a company about possible opportunities, or asking to do some networking within a company of interest, you should include a cover letter.
All cover letters should:
Explain why you are sending a resume:
- Introduce yourself and let the reader know what you are asking for. Be specific: are you responding to a specific ad for an open position? Are you inquiring about future opportunities? Are you looking for an internship?
Indicate how you learned about the position or the company:
- Reference the location of a job posting, or name a networking connection or current employee. If you were referred by someone, mention their name to solidify the referral.
- State why you are interested in the position and/or company.
- If you are not responding to a specific position, indicate the types of positions you are interested in.
Convince the reader to view your resume:
- The cover letter forms a recruiter’s first impression of you. Take the time to write a detailed letter that demonstrates your communication skills and reflects your personality.
- This is your opportunity to “sell yourself.” Call attention to any skills and experiences that directly relate to the job or company.
- Let the reader know why you are a perfect fit for the position.
- Provide any information requested in the job advertisement, especially if the information is not on your resume.
Indicate your plans for a follow-up:
- Do not assume the company’s contact will call you. Provide your contact information as well as a statement about your intent to follow-up.
- If you are applying for an advertised or open position, take the initiative! Say something like, “I will follow up with you in the next two weeks to arrange a time to meet and discuss my qualifications.”
- If your cover letter is expressing an interest in the company, but not for a particular position, say something like, “I look forward to contacting you in the next couple of weeks to learn more about your organization and possible opportunities.”
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