How to create a great Cover Letter for your Resume?
Before you begin, please keep in mind two very important things that will help guide your writing: 'purpose' and 'audience'. You must know your purpose for writing the cover letter and you must try to know as much as you can about your audience. The purpose will give you a way to close the cover letter, and the audience will give you guidance on what to include in the body, the central paragraphs, of the letter.
'Purpose' refers to the reason your writing the document. Every professional document has a purpose, so a cover letter has a specific purpose too. The purpose guides how you end the cover letter because a reader of a professional document must be able to answer the simple question, 'What do I do now that I have read this?' Many believe that the purpose is 'to sell' or 'to introduce' the applicant to the potential employer. Those are part of what a cover letter does, but neither of those ideas are the main purpose.
Some believe that the purpose is 'to get the job'. That is the ultimate outcome of the entire job search process, but it is not the specific purpose of a cover letter. If any of those were the purposes for the cover letter, how could you close the letter without sounding strange, or as if you're begging for the position? The main purpose of a cover letter is 'to get the interview.' With this purpose in mind, it is easy to close the letter with a simple request for an interview in your final paragraph. You could end with a simple: 'I would like to set up an interview to further discuss this opportunity with you. Please feel free to contact me. I will follow up on this request by calling your office on'(name a date that is appropriate to the situation).
'Audience' refers to the person or people that you expect will be reading the document. Audience profiling is quite possibly the most important issue to address when composing a professional document. Whenever possible, it is best to address the letter to a specific person or group of persons. In the case of a cover letter, the audience will probably be the office or hiring manager, an individual or hiring team within the human resources department of the company or organization, or the owner of the business. Once you have determined the audience of the letter, you will do your best to describe that audience.
Your audience will have expectations from a document, attitudes toward the document, personal values, requisites to fulfill when assessing you as a prospective employee, etc. If you've had the chance to talk to your audience, or even meet briefly face to face, you have vital information that can be used to help customize your letter to your audience's needs. If you're responding to a posting or advertised position, you will find vital information about required experience, skills, training and various other characteristics that the employer wishes to see in a successful candidate.
Use these items to help shape the body, the second and third paragraphs, of your cover letter, showing clearly where you fulfill the requisites for the position. Make targeted statements. For instance, if the job advertised requires someone with more than 3 years experience and you have more than 5, you could write: 'As you can tell from my resume, I have 5 years experience in'' The idea is to keep it simple and direct, addressing the main concerns that the employer has about fulfilling the requisites of the position.
Note: If you are applying for a position and you do not know who will be reviewing your cover letter and resume, omit an addressee name from your letter and focus on the purpose of the cover letter. You can create a subject line such as : 'Re: Account Manager Position.'
You have written the conclusion paragraph with your request for an interview and the one or two middle (body) paragraphs highlighting your ability to fulfill the requisites of the position, and all you have left to create is the opening paragraph. Again, this paragraph should be written in a direct and simple style. The opening paragraph, like the closing paragraph, should be only one or two sentences maximum. You will indicate the reason for the letter and what is attached to it. So, a classic opening sentence could be: 'Please find attached my resume in response to your posted job position for [name the position]'. The following sentence, if needed, could read something like: 'I am interested in this position because' [give the reason for your interest].'
Now that you have all the components of the cover letter completed, including a subject line if necessary, all you need to do is open a template in your preferred word processing program and place in the paragraphs and subject line. Type in all the mailing information, including name and title of the addressee.
Note: When opening with a 'Dear' salutation, use either 'Mr.' Or 'Ms.' And the last name or the entire name of the person in case you don't know the gender of the person (this can happen with certain first names). Examples of correct salutations: 'Dear Ms. Jones,' or 'Dear Ian Halpern.'
Print out your cover letter and sign it with a blue pen. Blue ink shows that you signed it personally better than black ink, as black ink can appear as though it was printed. Also, blue ink tends to look better.
Congratulations! You now have a great cover letter!
For more ideas on how to write a cover letter go to www.careers.govt.nz. I really liked what they have written.
Written by: Jason Bermiller, Canada (MA in Professional Writing and Language (2000, University of Waterloo))
Useful books on Amazon for more deeper understanding of the subject.
Cover Letter Magic: Trade Secrets of Professional Resume Writers
The Resume and Cover Letter Phrase Book: What to Write to Get the Job That is Right
Knock Dead : The Ultimate Job Search Guide
How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job: Your Complete Guide to Opportunities, Internships, Resumes and Cover Letters, Application Essays (KSAs), Interviews, Salaries, Promotions and More!
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )