Cover Letter Basics
A cover letter introduces you to the potential employer. It is designed to get the reader’s attention and inspire them to read your resume in great detail. When well constructed, a cover letter can get your resume read by twice as many hiring managers. It can’t get you the job, but definitely helps you get your foot in the door.
Ingredients of a Good Cover Letter
Contact Information – All effective cover letters must include a way to contact you. There’s nothing worse than sending out a cover letter, getting the employer’s attention, and them not being able to contact you for an interview. If possible, include an email address and phone number.
Date – It’s proper protocol to include the date you typed the cover letter. This gives the potential employer a record of when you first reached out and how long you have been pursuing a job with the company.
Salutation – The formal, written equivalent of saying hi. A salutation should be formal such as Dear Mr. Joe Blow: However, if you don’t know the name of the recipient try something generic like “Dear Sir or Madam:” or “To Whom It May Concern:”
Purpose – Why are sending this letter? Quickly state the intentions and purpose of the letter. Let the reader see quickly what this letter is all about. If they are not in the market to hire, it allows them to quickly move on with their day, without wasting too much time.
Closer – Sell yourself. This is where you can talk up your skills. You have one paragraph to make the reader want to read your resume.
Invitation – Invite the reader to contact you if they like the resume their reading. In a more general format, you could say something like: I welcome a discussion about my ability to fill this role.
Contact Instructions – Tell the reader how to best get a hold of you. In one or two short sentences convey the best way to contact you whether it is by phone or email.