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 Write a Cover Letter

Job seekers often overlook them, but cover letters tell employers which job you are seeking and why you are the best fit.  Cover letters also provide a great chance for you to sell yourself to the hiring manager.

A resume should always be accompanied by an appropriate cover letter.

What makes a cover letter "good"?

The cover letter should be designed to complement, but not duplicate, resume information.

It should be an error free, personally typed, one-page letter sent to the person named in a job notice, newspaper ad, or determined after making a telephone call to the employer. Try to get complete information on the person doing the hiring so you can address your letter to someone specific.  This shows you did your research.  If you cannot obtain a name, use "Dear Hiring Professional."

Make sure your letter is professional, concise, and friendly.  Cover letters are meant to be read first and should be on the same type of paper as your résumé.  Do not forget to sign it! If a resume is sent via email, the cover letter can be used as the body of the email. You co not need to sign the cover letter if used in an email

A well-written cover letter adds to the focus of the resume. It should address the following questions:

1. Why is the applicant writing?

2. What will the applicant bring to the prospective company as an employee?

3. What past work experience and skills would be important for the position?

4. What response does the applicant expect to obtain?

The letter should emphasize specific aspects of the applicant’s education, work experience and background that are most relevant to the employer’s business. This is the chance to highlight special achievements which demonstrate capability and success.

If the applicant is employed at the time a resume is sent out, the cover letter should explain briefly why he/she is seeking a different position.

If the applicant has been downsized, experienced a layoff, or been out of the workforce for a period of time, this can be mentioned here as well. The main goal of the cover letter is to obtain an invitation for an interview. This request should be directly addressed in the letter.