How to Write a Winning Cover Letter


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Every résumé you send, fax, or e- mail needs its own cover letter. Sending a résumé without a cover letter is like starting an interview without shaking hands. The best cover letters spark the employer’s interest and create an impression of competence.

Cover letters are an opportunity to convey your focus and energy. Although you should feel free to consult references and models, use your own words when writing a cover letter; don’t mimic another person’s writing style.

Most cover letters are two or three paragraphs long. Every cover letter should fit on one page and contain the following four parts: Salutation, opening, body, and conclusion.

Salutation. Whenever possible, send your letter to a specific person rather than to an office. If you do not know whom to write, call the company and ask who is hiring for the position. Check that the name you use is spelled correctly and the title is accurate.

Opening. The first few sentences of your cover letter should tell the reviewer which job you are applying for and the connection you have to the company. If someone the reviewer knows suggested you apply, mention that recommendation. If you are responding to an advertisement, refer to it and the source that published it.

Your knowledge of the company might give you another opportunity to connect yourself to the job. You could briefly describe your experience with its products, cite a recent company success, or refer to an article written about the company.

Body. The next portion of your cover letter is a brief explanation of your qualifications. Don’t simply repeat your résumé; summarize your most relevant qualifications or provide additional details about a noteworthy accomplishment. Address the employer’s requirements directly.

You can also use the body of your cover letter to address gaps in your work history or other problems evident on your résumé. But do not volunteer negative information unless you must. Always maintain a positive, confident tone.

Closing. In your final paragraph, thank the reviewer, request an interview, and repeat your home phone number. The closing is your chance to show commitment to the job. If you tell the reviewer you plan to call, make sure you do it.

Written by: Manik Thapar

Manik Thapar (MBA)


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