When you write a business cover letter you’re trying to impress the person who’ll read the letter.
A cover letter would be sent when you’re applying for a job, usually with your business resume or curriculum vitae. The letter introduces you and your resume to the person who’s responsible for deciding who’ll be asked to come for an interview. The letter needs to be well written and presented as often it’ll only be read for a few second, less than a minute. The recruiter will often have hundreds of applications, cover letters and resumes, to look at while making a short list.
So your letter needs to introduce you quickly and clearly to the recruiter. To do this it needs to follow the proper format for business letters and use the business letter layout that the recruiter will be used to.
Making an ‘individual’ cover letter on pink paper with the information contained as a poem won’t impress the recruiter who wants someone who can follow expected business customs.
In a clear and concise cover letter you should include all the information in three paragraphs.
In the first paragraph you should introduce yourself and explain which job you’re applying for (make the letter unique and specific to that job). This just needs to be two or three short sentences.
Then in the second paragraph you should highlight your best qualifications and how they specifically relate to the job you’ve applied for. Be specific about why you’re the best person for the job. But don’t overdo it. State the facts about your qualifications and how they fit the job profile but don’t exaggerate or lie, and keep your language formal and professional.
Don’t repeat everything from your business resume: just highlight the best points so the recruiter will actually spend time reading your resume. The cover letter is just to persuade the recruiter to stop and spend time looking at your resume rather than rejecting it without reading it.
In the third and final paragraph thank them for considering your application and state that you’re looking forward to meeting them at the interview.
When the cover letter is ready you need to make sure that your business resume is also correctly written and formatted so that it’s ready to send with the cover letter. Even if you’ve just recently updated it, check your resume again before posting it with the cover letter.
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By Jolyon Dodgson, copyright © 2011-2017.
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