Writing Cover Letters

Never send a resume/curriculum vitae without a cover letter unless the employer specifically states ‘no cover letter.’ The cover letter gives you another chance to emphasize what you have to contribute to the company or organization.

How to write a persuasive cover letter

You may have many different forms of correspondence with employers throughout your job search—informational interview letters, cover letters, thank you notes, acceptance offers, and decline letters. These forms of communication are a crucial part of your resume “marketing” package. They communicate a great deal about your skills, abilities, and personality. Make sure you are as careful with these letters as you are with your resume. Before you sit down to write your cover letter, do observe the following: take a close look at the employer and try to determine his/her requirements and needs; Next, plan your letter by placing the most important items first, supported by facts and examples; your letter should demonstrate how your background, education, work experiences, and abilities can meet the needs of the employer. This approach will help you persuade the employer that you are a good match for the position and that they should at least, interview you.

Your letter should provide the employer with the following information:

· Why are you writing?

· Why are you interested in the organization and /or job?

· Why would the employer be interested in you?

· What is your next step?

Show your value to the employer when writing your cover letter

· Show your interest. Whenever possible, research each employer’s organization and then personalize the letter. When you indicate that you know something about the organization, it shows that you are seriously interested in the employer. This approach is much more effective than sending out dozens of identical form letters.

· Highlight one or two of your most significant accomplishments or abilities. This draws immediate attention to your most impressive skills. It also demonstrates that you are an above average candidate, which increases your chances of being singled out.

· Be brief. This shows you understand the value of the employer’s time.

· Be persuasive. Don’t just describe your background—your resume takes care of that. Be clear about your objectives and make the employer want to take a closer look at your resume.

· Use a positive tone. The letter should be written in a very clear and positive manner. Do not add details about yourself, your past experiences, or your education that may call attention to your weaknesses or raise questions about your confidence or ability to do the job.

· Use powerful action verbs. By using the active voice, you will grab the employer’s interest and convey a sense of energy.