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Are you applying for a job and starting a cover letter? Or maybe a recent college graduate wanting to send out resumes to get that first job? If so, you are probably thinking of writing a cover letter and wondering how it should look. Sometimes a cover letter is as important as the resume itself. It will be the first glimpse of you that the job screener sees. It will also probably be read at any job interview you sent it for.
The first thing you should realize, is that copying one of off the internet is not a good idea. It might sound good, but if every letter looks the same, how will you stand out? Yes, you can follow a guideline and that is what we will put here. A guideline. How it is worded should be entirely up to you.
This is true for various reasons. The most important one being that if it is your words, you will remember them. You do not want to be at a job interview and have a puzzled look on your face as someone reads and asks about your letter.
Cover Letter Tips
Do not make it a rehash of your resume. That's why you have a resume. Your goal is to get someone to LOOK at your resume. You can include a bit here or there, but just a tease.
Include personal information and experiences that make you a great (the best?) candidate for the job being offered. Sometimes these are life skills not in a resume. The technical experience will be a job clincher.
Tailor the cover letter to fit the job offered. So be sure and read the job offer ad carefully to know what the strongest skills needed are.
Fit it on one page. Nobody likes to look for the second part, any extra might get lost in a shuffle or look confusing with your resume.
Sample Cover Letter Guidelines
Remember, we are not going to give a sample letter for you to copy, but format and content tips.
Try to find out who the cover letter will go to. Start the letter with
Dear Mr. Joboffer,
If it is a woman, you should address it with the full name. Unless you know for sure it is Mrs. Miss, Ms. etc. You don't want to make a mistake here.
The first paragraph you will state why you are writing it--to express interest and apply for the specific job. State that you believe you are a strong candidate with a general reason, like just completed training or college, or similar. That's it. No more, no less. Something like, you feel you are a great candidate for the editorial job because you minored in English and interned in the editorial department at a magazine.
The next two to three paragraphs will reiterate what skills and experiences you have for the specific ones in the job offer. If the job offer includes good communication skills, give a couple of examples where you taught a class, did customer care, gave presentations, aced an English essay class, etc. Whatever the skills are, give examples. Yes, most of these examples will not be in your resume, but some will. Do similar with other skills the job requires.
The last paragraph will reiterate your first paragraph, reword it as a conclusion. End strong. You must now include how you will follow up and communicate with the. When will you call? When will you email? Something like, you will call during day or week such and such to ask for a meeting or interview.
And of course, at the end, you will give personal contact: