How To Write A Cover Letter By Jeremy Cyrus 07/17/2012
You may already know a few things about writing a resume, but odds are you know less about composing a cover letter. Writing a cover letter is very important for success, but many people do not know what to include on a cover letter or how long it should be—or don't realize how important it is to begin with. As such, many resumes are handed in to employers every day without cover letters. Neglecting your cover letter could greatly reduce your chances of getting an interview, and ultimately a job. How do you compose a cover letter? What are the important elements to include, and how long should your letter be?
A cover letter doesn't need to be longer than a page, and should preferably be about half a page. Succinctness is esteemed highly by hiring managers, who have a lot of resumes to go through and not a lot of time to spend on each. Your cover letter should communicate that you want the job and why you want the job. It's your chance to put in more qualitative information about who you are as an individual and make yourself stand out from all the other candidates.
Start by including your contact information at the beginning of the cover letter, just as you would on your resume.
Then put the date. Your next line should read, "Dear Hiring Manager." Then you can launch into the letter. Begin by telling the hiring manager what position you wish to be hired for (and include information such as full time, part time, or seasonal). If you are willing to relocate, say so, and also put down any information concerning start and end dates you wish to communicate. Next, put down any relevant recent information such as the fact that you are graduating, ending a term of employment with your current company, or so forth.
Next include a short paragraph about your most important job skills. This should hint at the information in the resume and make the hiring manager want to read more—but shouldn't list everything, since you're doing that in your resume. Just pique the hiring manager's curiosity and leave it at that.
Close up with a paragraph which is more personal and individual. Is there a particular reason you are drawn to the company or the position? If so, describe it here, and don't be afraid to be completely honest. This is your chance to demonstrate that you are different from anyone else, and that you are more enthusiastic about the job, and thus will perform better, than any other candidate. Talk about why the job is important to you—and why it should be this job, and not another.
Finish by telling the hiring manger you look forward to hearing back soon. This invites additional correspondence, which is key. Then write, "Sincerely," followed by your name. If you are handing the cover letter in to the hiring manager in person, it should of course be placed on top of your resume. If you are emailing, then attach your resume and use the cover letter as the body of your email.