There is a lot of information available to job seekers about writing resumes, but what about the other aspects of the jobs search? One of the most important but over looked tools is the cover letter. Many hiring managers use them to narrow down their choices before reviewing resumes or scheduling interviews. Others will look at the cover letter as a way to determine if the applicant is able to follow directions. In either case, it is important to master the art of the cover letter. Whether you write a formal letter that is mailed or an email with a resume attachment, learning this skill is essential. Here are the steps to writing a good cover letter.
- The greeting. Never write a cover letter addressed to “To Whom it May Concern.” Especially in today’s connected business world you should always be able to find the name for the contact. If it isn’t listed on the job posting, cross-reference information with LinkedIn. As a last resort, if you are unable to find a name, you can address the letter with a simple, “Good morning,” or “good afternoon.”
- Introductory paragraph. Your first paragraph should introduce you as a viable candidate for the position. You don’t have to restate your name, but share some information about why you are applying for the job. For instance, “I saw your posting for an administrative assistant online. My experience is extensive with over 6 years supporting executive level managers. I believe that my skills are a match with your company.” Try to match what you have done with their specific requirements for the job.
- Second paragraph. In the next paragraph you can sell yourself to the hiring manager. Describe some specific accomplishments that make you stand out from your competition. Keep them related to the job for which you are applying. For example, if the job requires extensive experience in Microsoft Excel, describe how your use of the program helped organize the financial records of your previous department. Be an answer to a specific pain the company is experiencing which has prompted the search for a new employee.
- Conclusion paragraph. In the final paragraph, you need to reiterate your interest in the position, in their specific company, and provide a way for them to contact you directly. Include your phone number and email address even if these are in your signature line on an email. You may also want to include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Do you need more help writing your cover letter? CornerStone Staffing, providing jobs in Arlington TX, can help you today!