Guest Author - Gwendolyn Thompson
When composing your cover letter it is very important that it be personalized. You have about twenty seconds to give an example that will grab the attention of the reader and how your cover letter looks can say a lot about your personality as well as your attitude.
Your cover letter can play a key role in the decision to schedule an interview. It should tell the reader why they should hire you as well as create an impact that will set you apart from the rest of the applicants in a short three to four paragraph page.
Match the header on your cover letter to the header on your resume using the same type of paper. The header should contain your name, e-mail address and your phone number. Your street address and the date should be flush to the left of the page with four blank spaces between them.
Move down the page four more spaces and list the employers name, title, company name and address keeping it on the left side of the page as well. A professional looking cover page can mean the difference between getting an interview or not getting an interview.
Skip four more spaces and address the letter to a specific person if possible. If need be contact the company and ask someone. They will be impressed at the extra effort that you have taken in your research. It can also set your cover letter apart from others that are not personalized.
The first paragraph addresses why you are writing the company. Be sure to include the title of the position, where you heard about the position, why you are interested in the position, and if you were referred by someone to their company for the position.
The second paragraph discusses why you are qualified for the position. Include a few points that you would like to elaborate on that will high light your most recent experiences. Give specific examples. Use your research on the company to make a connection by mentioning something recent about them.
An additional third paragraph can be added to summarize and restate the position that you are applying for and to further provide information that will give evidence to back up your previous statements. Explain the skills that you possess that will match the posted requirements of the job to you.
The final paragraph should ask for an interview. Let them know that you intend to follow up and how you will follow up. Refer them to the enclosed resume for further information. Most important is to thank them for considering your application for the job.
Always proof read before you send your letter. It is a good idea to get a friend or family member to proof read your letter as well so that they can give you feed back. Take note that errors on a cover letter are just as bad as errors on a resume.
Finish up your cover letter by exiting from it using “Sincerely” flush to the left margin leaving four blank spaces for your signature followed by your full typed name under your signature and to the left of the paper. You are now ready to send your cover page and resume to a potential employer.