A cover letter is intended to introduce you to a potential employer. It displays your skills and how you will be of benefit to the company.
It accompanies your resume and is the first thing an employer will read. Often times, it is the determining factor as to whether your resume will be reviewed and if you will be contacted for an interview.
Employers are able to tell if a cover letter is ‘generic’, meaning the same form letter is sent to all employers. In this case, the cover letter and accompanying letter is usually discarded. Therefore, it is critical to tailor each cover letter to the specific employer.
An effective cover letter should list why you are interested in the company, and skills that show how you can benefit the company. There are three basic topics to include: why you are writing, what you have to offer, and how you will follow up. The ‘why you are writing’ section should include where you heard of the position and the position title, or that you are inquiring about any position openings. ‘What you have to offer’ should include any relevant achievements and what you can bring to the table to fulfill the position requirements. ‘How you will follow up’ should include restating your interest in the position and how the employer can reach you.
Remember, an effective cover letter is your key to getting your foot in the door. Click below for examples of sample cover letters.