How to Write a Cover Letter

by WriteExpress Staff Writers

Cover Letters by Topic

  1. Present yourself as someone who can fill the employer's need. In other words, market yourself as somebody with the specific skills and expertise that the job requires.
  2. Do not just say, "I'm the right person." Describe yourself with well written examples, achievements, work ethic and personality traits that specifically address each job requirement.
  3. Customize your cover letter for each particular job.
  4. Emphasize what you have to contribute to the company or organization.
  5. Show enthusiasm for the opportunity. Do your homework—let the employers know that you know who they are, what they do, and that you have chosen them!
  6. In bold type, highlight your skills that match the job description.
  7. Fix all spelling errors, typos and grammar problems.
  8. Personalize your cover letter. If possible, address your cover letter to the person in charge of interviewing and hiring.

Why cover letters are essential:

  • Your cover letter is like a first date—if it immediately makes a great impression then the reader may want to learn more about you.
  • Your cover letter is the first document an employer reads. It must introduce you with style and class.
  • Employers need only ten seconds to decide whether or not they want to hire you based on what you write.
  • Generic cover letters don't work. It isn't about you. It is about what you can do for them.
  • Many employers toss resumes without cover letters. Some do it automatically. Many employers reason that if you didn't take the time to write a resume, they don't want to take the time to consider you.

Why employers toss resumes:

  1. There is no accompanying cover letter
  2. The same cover letter is obviously used for other job submissions
  3. The cover letter does not match the job description
  4. The cover letter is filled with general information. All they read is "blah, blah, blah."
  5. The cover letter contains spelling, grammatical or typo errors
  6. The applicant's skills do not match the job requirements
  7. The applicant made unsubstantiated claims

Cover Letter Tips

Ask yourself how can your cover letter distinguish you as a candidate?
It isn't just enough to fire off e-mail resumes. Applying for jobs has become so easy that employers are bombarded with resumes.

The secret is to send a personalized cover letter. In just three to four paragraphs an employer can decide if he wants to interview you.


A winning cover letter gets personal
Tell employers what you know about their company. After reading their Web site, product or service materials and studying the job description, write something you think they will care about.


Mention contacts within the company
If you don't know anyone who works there, find a friend of a friend using LinkedIn.com. Call him or her soon as possible to discuss the company.


Tell employers how your skills fit into the position
This requires special attention to each sentence. Tell them how your strengths, experience and desires will fit their needs.


Tell employers how you relate to the organization
Cover letters are not about you. They are about how you can help the organization.

How to write your cover letter for the employer:

  • Tailor your cover letter to meet the employer's needs
  • List specific examples of solving similar problems that correspond to the employer's needs
  • Write a personal letter as if you were talking to the employer directly
  • Market your strengths to edge out the competition
  • Present yourself as a professional candidate worth interviewing

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