Complete Guide To Writing a Winning Cover Letter

Today’s job seeker has probably never mailed out resumes like the work force of the past and just like the job search has changed, so has the cover letter. The modern cover letter is usually 2 or 3 paragraphs within the body of the email you send. They should be well written for maximum impact on the reader. A cover letter has about 20 seconds to grab the interest of the employer.

So what if you don’t include a cover letter? Does that mean you’re doomed? In many cases the answer is simply yes. Few employers will seriously consider a resume without a cover letter. The cover letter is the way to show the employer your personality and how you will fit with his company. It should also be personalized for each company you apply to, not just a form letter. Tailor every cover letter to the position you are applying for, if you want your cover letter to be thrown away make it sound like a form letter. It shows a lack of drive to the employer and that you are applying to jobs without thinking about how good a fit the job, or company, is for you.

It may take a little extra time, but it is well worth the effort to do a little research and customize your cover letter. Addressing the letter to the person with the hiring power is an immediate way of showing you care enough about the job to find out who will be making the decision. Briefly showcasing your strengths and explaining how you will be of benefit to the company should also be included. It should have plenty of “white space”, though. The best cover letters cover all the bases but are clear and focused. Short and to the point will show you are a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done kind of employee.

Here are the guidelines on how to make a cover letter that will ensure you advance to the next level of your application.

First paragraph

Introduction – This part includes your purpose for writing the letter, how you knew about the opening and a brief introduction of yourself. This is also the part where you mention that you are applying for the post and how you knew about the company.

Second paragraph

Selling your Qualifications – This is where you make a sales pitch on your fitness for the opening position. This should highlight your qualifications, skills and experience and how these match with the requirements of the position. Write these briefly and in such a way that they will be influenced to look at your attached detailed resume.

Third paragraph

Call for the next action – The third and last paragraph should include a request for interview and your plan of making a follow-up. Do not forget to thank the reader for his time and consideration before ending the letter.

The salutation must include your typed name and your handwritten signature.

Cover Letter Content

In terms of the content, here are 7 useful tips that will guide you on what should be included in your cover letter.

1. Research the organization you’re applying for. Find out what the corporate vision is, how they do business, and learn about their major operations. You will impress the person reading the cover letter when you include some references of this in your letter.

2. Find out the name of the person who will be reading the letter. This may not always be possible but if you can pull this off it will make your letter stand out of the crowd.

3. Make sure your cover letter isn’t simply a rephrasing of your resume. It needs to reflect your personality and not just your CV and personal data.

4. Write in a formal tone but make sure not to be boring or too formal. You need to let your personality show while not forgetting that the person who will be reading your cover letter is a stranger.

5. You need to mention several of your personal qualities that you think will be perfect for the job in question. I don’t mean your degrees or experience here but personal characteristics.

6. You need to express a desire to fulfill the job in question and mention that you see yourself as a long time employee. This will make the reader feel that they can rely on you far into the future.

7. Make sure to include your personal contact information at the end. Include both your phone number and email address so you’ll be easy to get in touch with.

Conclusion

Your cover letter should be well written and point out the facts as to why you’re the best candidate for the job. The letter is like a little salesman telling the employer all your benefits and why you’re the best person for the job. Your resume in reality is just the facts about your pass experience and what your have done.

Think about your cover letter this way. It connects all the dots (the facts on your resume) together and paints a picture for the employer. That picture is what “sells” you to the employer. This picture is what makes the employer want to read your brilliantly crafted resume.

Remember, in today’s economy, the employer most likely has received any where from 25 to 225 resumes for the job you’re applying for. This is not the time to have the typical attitude that most job seekers maintain, which is: “employer; you have a job, I have a resume, and I hope to hear from you soon”.

In today’s tough job market, it’s the person who stands out above the crowd that has the best chance of getting the job. The person that can “sell’ himself or herself to the employer is the one rewarded with a job interview.

So take time in writing that all important Cover Letter, as it can do more for you than any well written resume could ever accomplish.