A good cover letter shows you are an ideal candidate for the job because you possess all the skills, experience, and attributes to bring success to the company. Typically, the cover letter should have 3-5 separated paragraphs, and it should include the same header as your resume. It should contain NO ERRORS in spelling or grammar. If at all possible on the job search, it is important to ask AT LEAST one person skilled in written English to look over your emails correspondence and cover letters (your Career Counselor is available to assist).
Your first paragraph should mention your interest in applying for a certain position, and you should name the job title you are applying for. This paragraph is also a great place to mention any previous contact you’ve had with the company. For example, you might say “Talking with Wendy, in your Human Resources Department, really ignited my interest in applying for the Lab Technician Position.” You should also present a sort of Thesis Statement, mentioning 2 or 3 words or concise phrases to summarize what you would bring to the employer. Take this example from TheBalanceCareers.com Website: “I believe that my five years of experience in office administration and my passion for your products make me an ideal candidate for this role”.
The body of your cover letter is where you want to highlight your most RELEVANT skills and strengths. To write these paragraphs and/or bullet points, carefully study the job description, and if you don’t really have one, find some additional job descriptions to scrutinize. Pick out key skills, attributes, and experiences which the employer is looking for and make sentences to prove you possess an asset and you can make a difference to the company. You can also list accolades from colleagues or concrete examples of changes which you effected. DO NOT copy verbatim the points already mentioned in your resume.
An effective way to highlight your assets is to make a bulleted list in the body of your cover letter. Bullets really show your skill and experience in an immediate way. As a general rule, create no more than 5-6 concisely worded bullets; if a bullet becomes longer than 2 lines it may be best to it into a paragraph format. Note also that a bullet should start with a strong action word which shows how you took action to accomplish certain tasks or to produce certain outcomes.
How should you close your cover letter? Make a sentence or two to reiterate your interest in helping the company succeed and make sure to mention one or two additional key attributes you might bring. Indicate your willingness to further discuss your qualifications in an interview and make sure your contact information is listed there at the closing. You could simply put your phone and email information after your signature, or you can mention it in your last sentence.
Tip written by Heather Musser, Career Paths Career Counsellor, Back in Motion