Every CV you send, fax, or e- mail needs its own cover letter.
Sending a CV without a cover letter is like starting an interview
without shaking hands. The best cover letters spark the employers
interest and create an impression of competence.
Cover letters are an opportunity to convey your focus and
energy. If you dont have a lot of experience, use the
cover letter to show you have enthusiasm. Writing a strong
cover letter and then calling to follow up shows the employer
you have drive and interest.
What to include
Cover letters should be written in standard business format
with your and the reviewers addresses at the top and
your signature above your typed name at the bottom. (E- mailed
cover letters do not include mailing addresses.) All letters
should be single spaced, flush left, with each paragraph followed
by a blank line. Use professional, polite words. Revealing
your personality is fine, as long as your style conforms to
Most cover letters are two or three paragraphs long. Every
cover letter should fit on one page and contain the following
Whenever possible, send your letter to a specific person
rather than to an office. Consider how differently you respond
to a letter addressed to you, as opposed to one addressed
to Occupant. If you do not know whom to write,
call the company and ask who is hiring for the position. Check
that the name you use is spelled correctly and the title is
accurate. Pay close attention to the Mr. or Ms. before gender-
neutral names. Finally, use a colon after the name, not a
The first few sentences of your cover letter should tell
the reviewer which job you are applying for and the connection
you have to the company. If someone the reviewer knows suggested
you apply, mention that recommendation. If you are responding
to an advertisement, refer to it and the source that published
Your knowledge of the company might give you another opportunity
to connect yourself to the job. You could briefly describe
your experience with its products, cite a recent company success,
or refer to an article written about the company. But dont
go overboard; save specifics for the interview.
The next portion of your cover letter is a brief explanation
of your qualifications. Dont simply repeat your CV;
summarize your most relevant qualifications or provide additional
details about a noteworthy accomplishment. Address the employers
requirements directly, and dont be afraid to use special
formatting to your advantage.
You can also use the body of your cover letter to address
gaps in your work history or other problems evident on your
CV. But do not volunteer negative information unless you must.
Always maintain a positive, confident tone.
In your final paragraph, thank the reviewer, request an interview,
and repeat your home phone number. The closing is your chance
to show commitment to the job. Do not leave the ball in the
employer's court. Indicate what reaction you expect from your
letter and how you will follow up. For example, don't end
with "I look forward to hearing from you soon."
If you tell the reviewer you plan to call, make sure you do