Often times a cover letter is the very first impression a recruiter or employer has. Unless stated otherwise in the job listing, a cover letter is always to be drafted and sent in with your resume for consideration of hire. A good cover letter will be the difference between gaining an interview and having your resume ignored.
So what do you put in a cover letter? Most cover letters will only have 1 or 2 body paragraphs. You don't want to overwhelm the hiring manager or use up a great deal of his or her time. After seeing many cover letters throughout our years of recruiting experience, we've rounded up a few key things to include in your letter.
State your intentions. Introduce yourself and explain the position you are inquiring for. Plain and simple! Tell who you are and what you're looking for.
Express why you are a good candidate. Resumes flood in and it is easy to get lost in the stack of candidates. Make your cover letter quickly and easily stand out capturing the reader by briefly expanding on your accomplishments and why you deserve an interview. Mentioning a few personal strengths about your organization, great teamwork abilities or computer skills would be ideal for this section.
State what makes you unique. Why are you different than all the rest of the candidates? Do you have experience? Have you completed a project that has equipped you to succeed at the job applied for? Expound on your skills and specifics to why you personally know you would be the best candidate for the position.
Ask for the opportunity to interview. It is great to tell a little about yourself and your accomplishments but ask for the chance to interview in your cover letter. Re-summarize why you would be the ideal candidate and that you desire the chance to interview.
Close the letter. Take a sentence to thank them for their time and consideration. Mention that your resume and references are attached (if applicable) and write an appropriate closing with your signature.
Remember, It is always best to edit or completely rewrite a new cover letter for each position you apply for. Tailor your cover letter to better fit that job description and the audience reading it.