Cover Letter: Introduction

You found an exciting job posting and are getting ready to submit your résumé, but what about a cover letter? Is it always necessary to include a cover letter? Including a cover letter lets you to show the employer information not contained in your résumé. It’s a conversation between you and the employer – a chance to speak about how your skills, experience and education are the ideal match for the position. The cover letter can be fused with personality and is less formal than the résumé. By skipping the cover letter, you risk losing out on the opportunity to sell yourself.

This section will help you to:
  • Conduct preliminary work needed to write a cover letter
  • Learn how to identify your strengths and compare them to the job posting
  • Identify basic sections of a cover letter
  • Write a cover letter that is engaging, informative and captures the attention of the employer

Cover Letter Basics

First Paragraph (Introduction)

The first paragraph states why you are writing. This is where you greet the reader and state what position you are applying for and where you heard about it. State why you feel that you are a good match for the position and organization. Include 2-3 key qualifications that you will address in the rest of the letter.

Second Paragraph (the argument)

This is where you state what qualifications you bring to the position. Here is where you want to highlight two or three key experiences and achievements that directly relate to the qualifications the employers is or might be seeking. This section is not about repeating the résumé, but enhancing the skills, experience and education listed. Use industry-specific language and include examples of your accomplishments so the employer can see you have a proven track record.

Third Paragraph (the closing)

This paragraph restates why you align with the organization’s mission/goals. Restate why your skills match the position requirements and how your experience will help the organization. Use this paragraph to state what you want from the employer e.g. an interview or an opportunity to further discuss your qualifications and any employment opportunities the employer may have. This paragraph should also include your contact information and a reference to the enclosed résumé. Sign with Regards or Sincerely, and your name. Include your phone number after your name to make it easier for the employer to contact you.

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