How to Write a Cover Letter

It’s important to send a cover letter with your resume. This will be the ‘first impression’ you make on your potential employer. Giving it careful thought and planning is important. Get this right, and your name will make it to the top of the list. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to guide you in the preparation of a cover letter.

  • Limit your letter to half a page and never more than a single page.
  • Prior to writing, assess the employer’s needs and your skills. Think about why you’re a good fit for the job.
  • Start your letter with an appealing opening sentence which displays your confidence and personality.
  • Avoid jargon or slang. Use action verbs and the active voice; convey optimism and enthusiasm, coupled with respect and professionalism.
  • Explain why it will benefit the employer to hire you? What’s in it for him/her? How will you bring value to the company?
  • Demonstrate, if possible, some knowledge of the organization to which you are applying. Gather your thoughts by visiting their website and learning about the company. Why you would fit in with the company’s vision or mission?
  • In order to ensure your letter is read in its entirety, avoid long and intricate sentences and paragraphs. A sentence should not be longer than 18 words. A paragraph should not be longer than 5 sentences.
  • Show some personality, but avoid hard-sell, gimmicky, or unorthodox language. This is not the place to be sarcastic, funny, or flippant.
  • Arrange the points you’ve written in a logical sequence; organize each paragraph around a main point.
  • Let someone else read it – and proofread it multiple times to ensure there are no typos.

Use this Business Letter Format

Your First and Last Name
Your Street Address
Your City, State and Zip Code
Email Address
Phone Number

Date

First Last Name
Title
Company
Street Address
City, State Zip code

Dear Mr. or Ms. Last Name:

To simplify matters, we’re demonstrating the block format on this page, one of the most common formats. The consensus is you should skip a line after your return address in the top right of the letter and before the date.

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. First provide your  address and be sure to include your phone and email. If you are using letterhead that already provides this information, do not retype that information in the top right; just begin with the date. Skip a line if you’ve typed your address and then type the date. Skip two more lines (double space) and provide the address of the party to whom the letter is addressed. Use the two letter abbreviation for the State. This address should match the address on the envelope.

Skip a line before the salutation, which should be followed by a colon. For female recipients, it is best to use Ms., instead of Mrs., since you have no way of knowing if the recipient is married. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginnings of paragraphs. Skip lines between paragraphs. Begin a new paragraph when you’re changing the subject or starting a new line of thought.

After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, followed by a comma, leave 3 blank lines, then type your name and title (if applicable), all flush left. Sign the letter in the blank space above your typed name.

Sincerely,

WRITE YOUR SIGNATURE

First Last Name
Title if applicable

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