How to Write a Winning Cover Letter
Many employers will not read a resume if it is not accompanied by a cover letter. A cover letter is an introduction of yourself and it has to be a winner to get you noticed. Studies into cover letters have found that the majority are read by prospective employers in eight seconds or less which means you have a very short window of time to make the right impression.
Always be aware of the audience you are writing to by doing plenty of research on the company before you apply for a job with them. If you cannot demonstrate that you have knowledge of the company in your cover letter then you will never move on to the next step, which is the job interview. Be mindful of this when you write your cover letter.
Write your cover letter to a specific person and do not just write, "To whom it may concern" or to the "Human Resources Officer." You may need to place a call to the company you are applying for work with in order to find out the contact person’s name and this is entirely permissible. Make sure you are clear as to the gender of the person as there are many male and females names that sound the same and are interchangeable. For example Jordan could be a man or a woman as could Pat and a variety of other names as well.
Marketing yourself is best done by way of citing specific concrete examples in your cover letter. Do not be repetitive in your cover letter by stating something that you already stated in your resume. Instead refer the employer to any of the enclosures that you have included with your cover letter such as your resume, portfolio, writing samples and so on.
Brevity is important when it comes to a cover letter's length. Say what you have to as quickly as possible but make sure your resume is full of relevant information. Always make use of a cover letter format that is in a business letter style. A cover letter should consist of three paragraphs. This is a rule of thumb that should always be followed. There is the introduction, the body of the letter (which should be only one paragraph but can be two if it is necessary) and the closing of the letter. Always make sure that the top and bottom margins of the cover letter are equal and that both side margins are as well. How a cover letter looks counts for a great deal.
Always include as much contact information as possible in your cover letter and this means your complete address, your phone number (home and cell numbers) and your e-mail address. Always use the same good quality paper for your cover letter as you did for your resume and send it in an envelope that matches the paper.
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