How to Write a Cover Letter by lfsmj2010

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									How to Write a Cover Letter
Poor cover letters. They get no love. As much as we despise them,
they¡¯re a chance to make a case, cover everything we can¡¯t express in
our resumes ¨C which is a lot ¨C and come across as real people to
potential employers. Don¡¯t throw a cover letter together in the hope
that nobody will actually read it; to take advantage of its full
potential, follow these steps. Below that, you¡¯ll find advice on
formatting, reviewing, and researching the letter as well as links to
three free sample letters you can copy and adapt to your needs.
<Steps

Sample Cover Letters
Here are some well-written sample letters you can copy and use as a
starting point.
Cover Letter Template
Sample Cover Letter Email
Sample Cover Letter for Employment


Write an Email Cover Letter
1Include a salutation. There are a number of different kinds to choose
from, and the greeting you choose will depend on how much information you
have about the company.<If you know the name of the hiring manager, your
salutation should be something like "Dear [insert name]" followed by
either a comma or a colon. Make sure to address the manager formally
using their proper title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.).
If you don't know the name of the hiring manager, consider addressing
your letter "Dear Hiring Manager," "Dear Recruiting Team," or "Dear
[insert company name] Team."
As a last resort, address the letter "To whom it may concern," though we
recommend avoiding this salutation, as it could come across as a template
letter.

2Write the first paragraph of your letter. This is where you will mention
the job for which you're applying and how you found the job listing. It
only needs to be 1 to 2 sentences in length.
3Write the body paragraphs of your letter. Most cover letters will only
have 1 or 2 body paragraphs. You don't want to overwhelm the hiring
manager or use up a great deal of his or her time. Try to answer the
following questions in your body paragraphs:Why am I a qualified
candidate for this position?
What work experience do I have that fits the job requirements in the
company's listing?
Why do I want to work for this company specifically?

4Write the final paragraph of your letter. This will be where you wrap up
and discuss how you will proceed with the application. Consider including
the following:Reiterate in one sentence why you feel you're a perfect fit
for the position.
Discuss what you'll do next. If you plan on following up with the hiring
manager in a week or two, include a specific date. Otherwise, just say
that you look forward to interviewing for the position and discussing
your qualifications further.
Provide your contact information. Include your email address and your
phone number so the hiring manager can get in touch with you.
Mention that your resume or references are attached (if applicable).
Thank the person for their time.

5End your cover letter with a respectful closing statement. "Best" or
"Sincerely" are both classic options. Also, since you won't be able to
sign your email, finish the letter by typing your full name.

Write a Paper Cover Letter
1Add a letterhead at the top of the letter. Your letterhead should
include your full name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Some guidelines to follow when creating your letterhead:Your name should
be in bold 14- or 16-point font.
Your address and other contact information should be in normal 12-point
font.
The font of your letterhead does not need to be Arial or Times New Roman,
like the rest of your letter, but it should be professional looking and
easy to read. The most important thing to remember is to include up-to-
date information so that you make it easy for the employer to contact
you.
You may want to include an extra line under the letterhead in order to
create visual appeal and to separate the letterhead from the rest of the
letter.

2Write the recipient¡¯s name and address and the date below the
letterhead. It doesn't matter whether you put the date first or last, or
how many blank lines you include between them, as long as it looks
professional.From here on out, use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman
throughout the entire letter, set yourmarginsto one inch, and use single
spacing. Be sure your font is black, and if you're printing your letter
out, use standard-sized paper (8 1/2¡± by 11¡±).

3Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her
proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you¡¯re not sure who the
recipient is, write, ¡°To Whom It May Concern:¡± or ¡°Dear Sir or
Madam¡±; however, it isalwaysbest to address a cover letter to a real
person to make it look like you¡¯re not sending form letters.
4State your purpose in the first paragraph. Tell the employer why you are
writing to them in two or three sentences. State the position for which
you are applying (or the one you would like to have should it become
available).You don't necessarily need to include how you became aware of
the position unless it was through a mutual contact or recruiting
program¡ªin which case you should make the most of the connection.
If you are writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or
inquiry letter) in which you are asking about positions that might be
available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer.

5Outline your qualifications in the middle paragraph(s). Make sure to
match them to the requirements of the position. If you are writing to
inquire about open positions, tell the employer how you can contribute to
their bottom line, not what you want to get out of the deal. To do this,
use what you have researched about the employer's background and
history.Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching
the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter
accordingly. This will also be useful if you get an interview. Some
questions to keep in mind as you write areWhat is the employer's mission?
What do they promote as the one thing that sets them apart from their
competitors?
What kind of customer base does the employer have? Who is their target
audience?
What is the company's history? Who founded it? How has the business
evolved? What are the main highlights of the company's performance over
the past few years?


6Include a positive statement or question in the final paragraph that
will motivate the employer to contact you. Make this closing paragraph
between two to four sentences. Direct the employer to your enclosed
resume and make sure you specify that you're available for an interview.
Finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration,
and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation.
7Write an appropriate closing. It¡¯s a good idea to thank the reader for
his or her time. After that, write ¡°Sincerely,¡± ¡°Respectfully,¡± or
¡°Regards,¡± leave several spaces, and print your name.
8Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter
digitally, it¡¯s a good idea to scan and add your signature, write it in
with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with
appropriate software.
9Make a notation of the enclosures. If you enclose something, such as a
resume, with a letter, you should indicate that the letter contains
enclosures by making the notation ¡°Enclosure¡± or ¡°Enclosures¡± at the
bottom of the letter.

Review Your Cover Letter
1Spell-checkandproofread. If you have a spell-check feature, use it. Some
programs, such asMicrosoft Word, also include a grammar check that you
should use. Proofread your letter yourself. Some things to avoid
areCommon misspellings.
Writing in the passive tense. Own your accomplishments. Stay away from
phrases like "This experience gave me the opportunity to...," or worse,
"these goals were met by me." You don't want to sound like everything
happened to you or that it was done by some other entity. Make yourself
the active subject of every sentence (e.g., "In this role, I
developed/reinforced/learned/etc."). However, this does not imply that
every sentence should start with "I..." so vary your syntax accordingly.
Colloquial (informal) writing. You want to sound professional and
educated. Avoid all forms of slang, unnecessary abbreviations, and
texting lingo.
Incorrect punctuation.

2Read your letter aloud to hear how it reads. Do not rely on the spelling
and grammar checks to catch mistakes. Consider asking a friend, or even
two, to proofread your letter as well. If no one is available to help,
another good strategy is to spend some time away from your final draft (a
few hours or even a whole day) so that you can return to it with a fresh
perspective.
Questions to Ask Yourself when Preparing Your Cover Letter
1Find your answers to these important questions before you start writing
your cover letter: ?What is the complete name of the company to which you
are applying for a job?
What is the name of the person to whom you are addressing the cover
letter?
What is the address of the person to whom you are sending the letter?
What is the title of the job for which you are applying and does it also
have a reference number that you should include?
What is the type of job or level of the position you are seeking?"entry-
level"
"management"
"senior level"

What skills do you possess that you are not using enough in your current
role? Would the ideal candidate for this new role be required to make
more use of those types of skills? What opportunities are missing in your
current role? Answering these questions will help you explain why you are
interested in leaving current position. For example, are you looking
for:"room for advancement"
"an opportunity to learn new skills"

What is your current job or educational position? This may seem like an
obvious question, but knowing how to clearly define your current role is
a tremendous asset. For example, you could be a:"graduate student in
environmental science"
"customer service professional specializing in the high-end retail
market"

What is a general description of your accomplishments/experiences in the
field to which you are applying? For example, you could have:"fifteen
years of excellent customer service experience"
"an outstanding background in scientific research and discovery"
"a solid history of dependability in the automotive industry"

What assets can you offer to the company? List a few in your cover
letter, such as:"extensive experience with start-ups"
"demonstrated ability to solve problems"
"refined ability to manage teams"

What will you help the company accomplish, if given the job you
desire?"increase its bottom line"
"meet its goal of providing only the best in customer service"
"expand its customer base and increase its revenue"

<

Video




Tips
A good cover letter should not sound like a re-hash of your resume. It
should pull highlights from your resume and tie it gracefully with thejob
description. Consider it a bridge between your resume and the position
you're seeking.
Make sure your cover letter is visually appealing and coordinated with
your resume. Use the samepersonal informationblock in the heading of your
cover letter and your resume. A cohesive resume package is a very
attractive selling point. If using paper (i.e., not online), use the same
high quality paper for the cover letter as for your resume.
Do not overdo the style elements. Choose a font that is simple but
elegant. Avoid uncommon decorative fonts unless you are applying for a
job where being quirky is of greater value than being businesslikeandthe
people who are doing the hiring are on board with this philosophy.
Be concise. Never use two words when one will do. Always strike the word
"very" and eliminate the word "that" as much as you can.

<Warnings
This is not yourautobiography. Keep it well under a page.
Avoid generic, empty language ("I will bring a depth of experience," or
"I believe my qualifications and experience suit the demands of the
position"). Be specific and concrete about what you can bring to the
position.
If you're doing a thorough job search, you will get rejected sometimes.
If you're not getting rejected, you're not putting yourself out there
enough. And if you don't learn to see rejection as a chance to improve
your approach, then you'll have a very difficult time getting a job.

Sources
YouthCentral on writing cover letters
Scribendi on formatting a cover letter
English Plus on grammar
NY Daily News on researching companies before interviews
Best Interview Strategies on resumes and cover letters

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