Cover letters provide employers with a first impression of applicants who seek employment. When executed properly, cover letters entice the hiring manager to read on and continue to the resume for more detailed information concerning your skills and education. Laying out the basics of effective cover letters for employment will provide applicants with a template for current and future use.
The basic elements required for providing a cohesive and carefully-considered cover letter include focused and direct statements related to seeking employment. Cover letters should offer those reviewing your application an insight into your personality, skills and qualifications. Provide a reason behind applying for a specific position or seeking employment with a specific corporation well known within your field of expertise. Highlight educational and work experiences that set you apart from other applicants. Express the benefits you can bring to the table and what you can offer the company going forward in your career.
Ensure the cover letter maintains a professional appearance. The typeface and font size must be easy to read, and a font size of 10 or 12 is recommended. While not necessary, consider completing your cover letter and resume in the same font and size for cohesiveness. Insert your name, address and contact information at the top, followed by the date and then the name, address and contact information for the appropriate representative of the company. Place a space in between each segment and left justify the information on the page. Begin the letter with a salutation addressed specifically to the hiring manager or recruiting contact for the position. Follow with a strong opening paragraph and additional paragraphs to illuminate any experience and education you have obtained. Conclude with a paragraph stating your intentions to follow up, and thank the person who is reviewing the letter for their time. Sign the letter by hand.
Two different occasions warrant specific cover letters: Applications for specific positions which remain open and active at the time of application, and cover letters designed to inquire about possible unpublished or potential future openings. Cover letters addressing specific positions should indicate an overall knowledge of that position's requirements and address specific skills and education desired. For cover letters about potential future openings, which serve as a general introduction, highlight education and skills relative to the company and indicate your interest in learning more about any possible openings. Inquiry-based cover letters demonstrate a way to follow up after an initial meeting or networking opportunity.