A cover letter markets your qualifications, skills, knowledge, and experience, to create a favorable impression in response to a job posting or for targeted mailings to companies within a specific industry or for a specific position. To craft a cover letter that gets you an interview, it’s critical that you analyze the job ad.
Make sure that you demonstrate that you meet the “essential” experience, qualifications, training, abilities and qualities that are “essential” for the position. Use the cover letter to explain how you meet the “preferred” requirements to increase the probability of securing an interview. The keywords in the job ad allow you to structure your cover letter around them. Use the cover letter to explain how you meet the “preferred” requirements for the position, which you can uncover by evaluating the job description for key words, phrases, or more subtle clues.
Components of a Great Cover Letter
The introductory paragraph of your cover letter should have a “hook,” highlighting your relevant experience.
In the second paragraph, summarize your strengths, and relate your skills to the competencies required for the position. Quantify your accomplishments and describe unique contributions you bring to the table.
In the closing paragraph express appreciation for their consideration and close with a follow-up plan.
3 Common Types of Cover Letters
The T-Letter Cover Letter:
Structure your letter so that you match each job requirement, which is on the left hand side, with your qualifications on the right hand side of the page.
Point-by-Point Cover Letter:
In this type of cover letter, your focus is on the specific requirements that align best with your experience and background.
Targeted Cover Letter:
Eighty percent of jobs are not advertised, so this type of cover letter is for unadvertised positions that you’d like to target – you are proposing a new position.
By taking the time to craft a customized cover letter, you are signaling to the employer your high level of interest in the position and demonstrating your understanding of the core job requirements and how they relate to your experience.