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How to Write a Cover Letter

cover letter

Many people make the mistake of thinking a cover letter isn’t important, but it can make the difference when it comes to landing an interview. You should always include a cover letter when sending your resume. Both should be equally strong, but shouldn’t contain the same information. Use your cover letter to introduce yourself and to share facts about your professional experience that can’t be gleaned from your resume. Before you sit down to write your cover letter, keep these tips in mind:

Do some research on the company so that you can include that in your cover letter. Something as simple as restating their goals or mission statement shows the hiring manager that you have invested time to study their workplace.

Avoid generic cover letters. The more customized the letter, the better.

Keep your cover letter short and concise; limit it to one page. Begin by introducing yourself and stating which position you’re applying for. The body should focus on your experience and skills, and why you’re the right candidate for the job. This is the place to sell yourself, playing up special skills, experience and education. Explain how your background applies to the desired position. Close the letter by thanking them for their time and consideration. Request an interview and include how they can contact you.

Be sure to include your military experience, and explain how those skills are applicable to the position you’re applying for. As a service member, you learned new skills and procedures on a regular basis, and those qualities are important to employers.

Use a standard business letter format, with your name, address, email address, and the date at the top. Include a salutation addressed to the hiring manager. Stick to classic and easy-to-read fonts, like Times New Roman, and use size 12.

Include buzzwords that relate to the industry in which you’re seeking a job. For example, if you’re applying for a sales job, utilize terms like leads, quotas, and customer service.

Indicate a reference number clearly in your cover letter, if the job posting listed one.

Don’t include a salary requirement unless the company requests it.

Though the tone should always remain professional, it doesn’t need to be boring. The first few sentences should be engaging to grab the reader’s interest.

Once your letter is done, proofread it. Then proofread it again until you’re sure it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors.