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The Cover Letter

Always customize your cover letter for the position you're applying for!

The cover letter serves as your introduction to an employer and should accompany your resume at all times. It should have a fairly formal, professional style, without seeming stiff. Avoid addressing the employer by their first name unless you know them well or they've invited you to a first name basis.

The body of your letter should consist of three paragraphs. In the first paragraph, state the position you are applying for and how you heard of it. Get right to the point! In the second paragraph, state briefly why you are qualified for the position. This may involve reviewing the main points of your resume, indicating why you're interested in the job and how your experience relates. In the third paragraph, state clearly that you would like to be considered as a candidate and that you are seeking to obtain an interview. Give the employer a specific time frame in which you will call them in order to inquire about obtaining an interview. Thank them for any consideration they may give you.

 

When and Why

When you've never spoken with the employer, a cover letter is absolutely essential. Use it to concisely and informatively introduce yourself. Never send the resume alone.

When you've spoken with the employer, use the cover letter to remind the employer of your conversation. Reiterate why you want the position and why you're qualified for it. Thank the employer for any previous time they have given you to talk over the position. The cover letter can be more brief in this instance.