A cover letter should always be included when you send out your resume. It is one of the first opportunities that you will have in order to earn that all important interview. This is your time to describe additional details that you were not able to insert into your resume. You’ll be able to use full sentences – instead of bullet points. So, use these sentences to expand on your resume points and explain why you would be the perfect fit for the company.
The reader already knows what you have done in the past after reading your resume. They want to know the potential that you can bring and how you will help them in the future. Read over the key requirements and keys to the job and make it clear that you can deliver on these things. Research the company website (or talk to people you may know who work there) to get a sense of the culture and tone – try to mirror these in your cover letter.
Are you lacking some of the required experience for the job? If this is the case, focus on your skills and describe how these skills will be helpful to the organization. If you are lacking experience and some skills, don’t apologize for it. Stay positive, detail your strengths, and focus on the skills that you do have by showing great enthusiasm.
Use numbers to illustrate your impact on the organization you have worked for in the past. Employers love to see numbers, because numbers are results.
Do not be overly formal or robotic. Write in a way that shows you are friendly, approachable, and unique. Always customize your cover letter. The last thing a recruiter wants to read is, “Dear HR, I am so excited to apply for the open position at your company, where I hope to utilize my skills to advance my career.” Personalize your cover letter to the specific position and to the specific organization. You do not have to always follow the tried-and-trued cover letter format. Remember, just like your resume, no two cover letters should be exactly the same. An accounting student’s cover letter should not be the same as a music student’s. Just like an education student’s cover letter would not be similar to a chemistry student’s. Tailor your cover letter to the field you wish to go into.
Keep your cover letter to no more than one page. Most employers prefer one page or less. Whenever possible, address your cover letter to a specific person (always use Dr., Mrs., Ms., or Mr.). If you simply cannot find out who the hiring manager is, still try to be as specific as possible.
Proofread and edit your cover letter. It’s also a good idea to have someone else proofread and edit your cover letter.