Summary: Whatever profession you wish to work in, the format to a cover letter that will accompany your resume or curriculum vitae can usually follow some simple rules.
The keys to success in getting your resume noticed and winning an interview can be summed up in these seven top tips:
1. Keep your cover letter short and to the point. Your reader will scan for information and expect to establish quickly whether you will be a good fit for the job. You risk being screened out if you cannot grab their attention in just a few seconds.
2. Include all your contact information in the heading. It’s quite possible that your resume will be separated from the rest of your application (e.g. to be photocopied). Make sure that your essential details are given in both documents.
3. Always personalize your cover letter. If you haven’t bothered to find out the name of your recruiter, your letter will seem like a mass mailed generic document from the start — even if you have taken the trouble to target the specific skills and attributes they are looking for. Establish a personal connection as you address your reader by name.
4. Format the letter in three or four brief paragraphs. In the first, introduce yourself and identify the position you’re applying for; in main body, show why you are such a good candidate; in the closing paragraph, request an interview and indicate how you plan to follow up on your application.
5. Address the requirements of the position. Don’t expect the HR staffer who opens your letter to deduce your suitability for the job. Show how good a fit you would be by matching key skills and experience in the job ad or description to relevant aspects of your own employment history.
6. Emphasize your interest and enthusiasm for the job you want. Don’t make your letter so brief that it lacks any warmth or personality. You’ll make a more convincing case to be shortlisted if you display knowledge of the employer and their circumstances.
7. Check and double check spelling, grammar and all other technical aspects of your submission. A poorly presented application will probably be screened out in the first selection stage. An accurate and elegantly written letter showcases your professionalism.