A cover letter highlights an applicant’s important accomplishments that most closely relate to the position. Resumes that aren’t accompanied by a cover letter might not be taken seriously, according to Quint Careers, a company that specializes in career advice. A cover letter provides the hiring manager information about which position you’re interested in and if you’re qualified for the job. However, before writing a cover letter, it’s important to research the company and invest time in writing an effective cover letter.
Research the company. According to Purdue University, applicants need to research the company to discover what the hiring manager needs in a candidate. Read the job description carefully. Also, visit the company’s website and read the mission statement. If you know someone who works for the company, ask for tips on what the company wants from a candidate.
Write a header for the cover letter. The header should include your name, address, phone number and email address. Skip a line and write the date, including month day and year.
Address the letter to the appropriate person. Call the human resources department and ask for the name of the hiring manager. This information may also be available on the corporate website (under the 'about us' section).
Write a paragraph that addresses which position you’re applying to at the company. For example, you might say after reading the Sunday newspaper, you were excited to learn the company needed a new sales associate.
Write a paragraph that discusses your experience. Focus on specific examples. For example, if you’re applying to a sales position you might say you acquired 10 new clients in the first month of employment at your previous company. Get specific when possible. Make sure to address the qualifications listed in the position description.
Ask for an opportunity to meet with the manager. The last paragraph should reiterate why you’re a good fit for the position (what you have to offer). It should also ask for a chance to discuss the hiring manager’s needs further. Include a phone number (or best method for contacting you).
If the hiring manager’s name could be male or female (you can’t tell from the spelling), don’t use “Mr. or Ms.” Instead, address the letter using the person’s full name. This will avoid embarrassing mistakes if you guess the gender wrong.
When addressing a letter, avoid overused statements, such as “To Whom it May Concern.” This will turn off a hiring manager and decrease the odds of getting a phone call.