- Identify characteristics of an effective cover letter
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a letter of introduction, usually three to four paragraphs in length, that you attach to your résumé. It’s a way of introducing yourself to a potential employer and explaining why you are suited for a position. Employers may look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as an initial method of screening out applicants who may lack necessary basic skills or who may not be sufficiently interested in the position.
Often an employer will request or require that a cover letter be included in the materials an applicant submits. There are also occasions when you might submit a cover letter uninvited: for example, if you are initiating an inquiry about possible work or asking someone to send you information or provide other assistance.
With each résumé you send out, always include a cover letter specifically addressing your purpose.
This purpose is to let the receiver know how well you match their needs. It is a careful blend of the direct and persuasive letters you read about earlier in this book.
Characteristics of an Effective Cover Letter
Cover letters should accomplish the following:
- Get the attention of the prospective employer
- Set you apart from any possible competition
- Identify the position you are interested in
- Specify how you learned about the position or company
- Present highlights of your skills and accomplishments
- Reflect your genuine interest
- Please the eye and ear
The following video features three tips on how to create a letter that highlights your strengths and how they are relevant to the employer.
Cover Letter Resources
|1||Student Cover Letter Samples (from About Careers)||This site contains sample student/recent graduate cover letters (especially for high school students and college students and graduates seeking employment) as well as cover letter templates, writing tips, formats and templates, email cover letter examples, and examples by type of applicant|
|2||How to Write Cover Letters (from CollegeGrad)||This site contains resources about the reality of cover letters, using a cover letter, the worst use of the cover letter, the testimonial cover letter technique, and a cover letter checklist|
|3||Article on Cover Letters via LinkedIn||This article on cover letters posted on LinkedIn may lend some helpful professional insights on writing an engaging cover letter.|
|4||Cover Letters (from the Yale Office of Career Strategy)||This site includes specifications for the cover letter framework (introductory paragraph, middle paragraph, concluding paragraph), as well as format and style|