Besides your resume
, the cover letter is the most important aspect of your job application. Great care should be taken to personalize and tailor the cover letter for each job to which you apply.
A cover letter is included with a resume and is the first impression an employer receives of a potential employee. While a good cover letter never duplicates the information held within a resume, it does serve as a personalized complement to a resume that describes not only an interest and intent in applying for a position, but also directly relevant skills and knowledge about the position.
A good letter generally follows the format of a business letter and consists of three paragraphs. The first paragraph discusses the reasons why the employer is being contacted. It should include information such as the exact position for which you are applying, how your skills and experience are well matched with the position, and to encourage further interest in you as a candidate by expressing your ardor.
The second paragraph should explain just what exactly you have to offer the company through your performance of the desired position. Refer back to the job posting and give a point-by-point comparison of the advertised requirements and your qualifications. Remain focused on what you can offer the company. Do some research into the company and share what you learn and how your qualifications can benefit such an organization. Prove to the reader that your education and skills are directly relevant to the position at hand.
The third paragraph works to close the letter and should remind the reader of your interest in the position. Include contact information such as your phone number email address. Or even promise a follow-up phone call to set up an informational meeting. If you have any professional references, this is a good place to include them.
One of the best pieces of advice to consider is to always make a promised contact, and it is good practice to call to confirm receipt of your resume even if you do not plan to meet with the hiring manager. Use your cover letter to express the individual traits that make you the best candidate for a position. And make certain to give current contact information and respond to calls immediately.