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Effective Cover Letter Tips

Before you start writing a cover letter, you should familiarize yourself with the document’s purpose. A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience.

The letter provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Don’t simply repeat what’s on your resume -- rather, include specific information on why you’re a strong match for the employer’s job requirements.

A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch to your application for employment.

There are some things that you don’t need to include in the cover letters you write. The letter is about your qualifications for the job, not about you personally. There is no need to share any personal information about yourself or your family in it. If you don’t have all the qualifications the employer is seeking, don’t mention it. Instead, focus on the credentials you have that are a match. Don’t mention salary unless the company asks for your salary requirements. If you have questions about the job, the salary, the schedule, or the benefits, it’s not appropriate to mention them in the letter.

One thing that’s very important is to not write too much. Keep your letter focused, concise, and a few paragraphs in length. It’s important to convey just enough information to entice the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.

Each cover letter you write should be customized to include:

Which job you're applying for (include the job title in your opening paragraph)

How you learned about the job (and a referral if you have one)

Why you are qualified for the job (be specific)

What you have to offer the employer, and why you want to work at this specific company (match your skills to the job description, and read up on the organization’s mission, values and goals to mention in your letter)

Thank you for being considered for the job

Cover Letter Writing Guidelines:

Header
Your contact information
Salutation (Dr./Mr./Ms. Last Name OR Dear Hiring Manager)
Introduction
Body
Closing
Signature
Format Your Cover Letter
Edit and Proofread Your Cover Letter