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Your career portfolio should be stocked with all the resources you need when applying for jobs. In addition to a résumé and work samples, a concise cover letter is a crucial piece of your portfolio.
Heading and Introduction
Your portfolio letter should be generic so that you can later tailor it to a specific employer. Leave out the name and address of the employer at the top, and address it to "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam."
A short introduction should include a reason why you are applying for the position. If you say, "I am an excellent accountant with 10 years of experience," use the next paragraph to support this statement with facts about your education, training and work experience.
Include a firm statement at the end of your letter, such as, "I am confident I would be an excellent addition to your team." Offer to meet with the employer at their earliest convenience, and close with a formal signature (for example, "Sincerely," followed by your full name).
Your letter should be typed in a readable font, and for most positions it should not exceed one page. Using high-quality or slightly tinted paper may make your cover letter stand out among the rest.
While you should always have a confident tone in your letter, you can also use the opportunity to showcase your personality in a way that would not come across in your résumé. Be careful to avoid any language or humor that may be misunderstood by the employer.
Ashley Henshaw is a writer based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on the websites of The Huffington Post, "USA Today" and "The San Francisco Chronicle," among others. Henshaw received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola University Chicago.