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The cover letter is usually the first thing the hiring manager sees, and is one of the best tools to make a positive first impression.A good covering letter gives you the chance to stand out from the crowd and ensure that your CV is placed on the definite ‘interview’ pile.

Competition for jobs is increasingly tough; your CV or application form will be one among many and your competitors may well have the same qualifications, relevant skills and equivalent experience, as you. So think of your cover letter as an opportunity to reinforce your CV and tell the employer: why your skills match their needs, why you admire their company or product range and why you want the job.

  Writing Cover Letter

A. Your Info
Begin with your return address and, below it, the date.

B. Their Info
The name, title, and address of the contact person. (Do whatever you can to find this info out - it is best to avoid a generic 'Dear Sir/Madam').
C. Salutation
(Dear.) followed by a colon " : " (without the quotes). If you are writing to a man, use the title 'Mr.', and if a woman, use 'Ms.' In the event of a gender neutral name like Pat, or an unfamiliar name of foreign origin, contact the company and find out whether the person is male or female. A possible alternative is to give the full name (e.g. 'Dear Pat Sykes,')


1. Opening
This is where you capture the attention of the reader. Give the name of the position you are applying for (and perhaps indicate how you learned of the vacancy – did someone tell you about it? Who? Did you see an ad? Where?)

Most importantly, though, you should give an outline of the specific reasons you feel you are ideal for this job in this company. Do not wait until paragraph 2 to begin selling yourself: start doing it here. Rather than saying ‘My skills and experience make me qualified for this position,’ specify which skills and which experience. Remember, specifics are always more compelling than generalities, and the goal is to get the reader leaning forward, eager to learn more about you in the next paragraph.

2. Body Paragraphs
This is where you go into detail, depicting yourself as a serious candidate and one well worth inviting in for an interview. It is generally a good idea to get the hard details about yourself (specific skills; history of responsibility, success, meeting challenges, etc.) above ‘softer’ details like personality traits, attitude, and values.

Think hard about ways you can reinforce an image of yourself that includes as many of the desired qualities as possible. And do not allow a claim about yourself to go unsubstantiated. Don’t just say you are ‘detail oriented,’ give the reader an example of something in your history that proves it; rather than claiming to be ‘motivated,’ make the reader believe this about you by drawing on real experience. Show, don’t tell. Remember, you are trying to set yourself apart from the other applicants; anyone can claim to be ‘hard-working,’ but only a truly hard-working person can prove it.

Do not simply regurgitate the contents of your résumé. You should certainly refer to it, but do so with a view to expanding on areas that require expansion. It is also acceptable (desirable, even) to refer to things that did not make it onto your résumé, if you feel they strengthen your case.

Wherever possible, emphasize how you will benefit the company. If you write too much about how you will benefit from being hired (‘I hope to learn a great deal about the industry’) then you will be calling attention to the gaps in your experience and knowledge.

Do what you can to demonstrate that you are well-rounded: if every point you make about yourself is drawn from, say, your educational background, the reader might come to think of you as narrowly focused; if possible mix it up so that you demonstrate your three-dimensionality.


3. Closing Paragraph
Normally just a few lines in length, this is where you express your strong interest in the position and express your desire to discuss your application further in an interview. Try to strike a balance between excessive force and excessive restraint. You might also consider giving a brief summary here of the key points in the letter above, but avoid simple repetition for its own sake.

D. Closing
A complimentary closing, such as 'Sincerely Yours' or 'Kind Regards.'
E. Big Space
Leave a quadruple space for your signature, and type your full name.
F. Attachments Note
If you are attaching your résumé, indicate this fact by writing, 'Attachment: Résumé' (The two documents sometimes get separated, so including this line signals that at some point the cover letter was accompanied by a résumé).

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