Build an Effective Cover Letter with Keith

Why Include A Cover Letter?

  • Like the resume, it’s a great selling tool.
  • Informs the reader (employer) why you are interested in this specific position for this specific company.
  • While the resume is usually generic (can be sent to multiple employers), the cover letter is tailored to a specific job opening and specific company.
  • Makes the employer want to read your resume.
  • A summary of your best qualities and skills in relation to the specific job you are applying for.

Cover Letter Basics

  • Your name and contact information:
    • Formatted the same way it is in your resume.
  • Who you are and what you do (or hope to do):
    • Introduce yourself and inform the reader of your reason for writing.
    • Include the job title and job code, if applicable.
  • Why you are writing:
    • State that you hope to gain an interview.
    • Example: “I am confident that my skills and experience will grant me an interview.”
  • Indicate where the resume is located:
    • Attached to an email? Uploaded separately? Enclosed (hard copy)? Indicate this.
  • Signature:
    • If supplying a hard copy, make sure to sign it. It looks professional!

Elements Of The Cover Letter

  • Your contact information (header)
  • Date
  • Company contact information under header
  • Re: line:
    • Great place to put job name and code.
  • Address line–“Dear [name]”:
    • If the name of the reader is known, use it!
    • If not, “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • Introduction:
    • A concise paragraph summarizing your interest in the position and your qualifications.
  • Body:
    • 1-2 short paragraphs highlighting your qualifications and accomplishments.
    • Choose these based on the job posting.
    • Do company research! Based on your experience, what specifically would benefit the company’s mission?
    • Can do this in a bulleted list, but DO NOT copy/paste from the resume.
  • Conclusion:
    • 1 paragraph
    • Indicate where your resume is located.
    • Why you are writing (usually to get an interview).
  • Close the letter.
    • “Respectfully”; “Sincerely”

Formatting The Cover Letter

  • 1 page
  • 1” margins
    • If necessary, 0.5” margins are okay, but on left and right ONLY)
  • 10-12 point font size
    • Formal font type (Times New Roman; Arial)
  • Paragraph style
    • Single spaced lines with a space between paragraphs
    • Keep sentences short but informative
  • If bullets are used, these should only be for part of the body. Be sure to conclude with a paragraph.
  • Header (your contact information) should match the resume header.
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