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Writing a Cover Letter
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Employment - Writing a Cover Letter  
   
 

 

A cover letter is normally the first contact point between an employer and a job seeker. It serves the purpose of providing a summary of why a candidate is suitable for a job (cover-letter) and his relevant qualifications or experience.

An Effective Cover Letter
An effective cover letter is a 1-page introduction of your resume that has the ultimate goal of helping the job seeker get the first interview from a job advertisement. This is easier said than done as HR Managers have to go through quite a number of job applications. If your cover letter is rather formulaic and your only concern is that the printing is smudge-free, then here are more useful tips:

Explain why you are sending a resume
Don't send a resume without a cover letter.
Don't make the reader guess what you are asking for; be specific: Do you want a summer internship opportunity, or a permanent position at graduation; are you inquiring about future employment possibilities?

Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization
a flyer posted in your department, a web site, a family friend who works at the organization. It is appropriate to mention the name of someone who suggested that you write.

Convince the reader to look at your resume
The cover letter will be seen first.
Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.

Call attention to elements of your background
education, leadership, experience — that are relevant to a position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using examples.

Reflect your attitude
personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.

Provide or refer to any information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing sample.

Basics
Be careful to direct your resume to the right person. If you address the wrong person in your cover letter, you may not get a response. Along the same lines, quote the correct reference number that is highlighted in job advertisement and ensure that you have applied for the correct position that corresponds to your expertise.

Academic Qualifications
In you cover letter, you should just state your highest relevant academic qualification. You need not get into the specifics like the grades of your final semester. An exception is if you have won an academic prize or attained a prestigious scholarship. The rest of your academic achievements can be placed after your cover letter.

Relevant Working Experience and Skills
You can include a paragraph in your cover letter about how your relevant working experience will directly benefit the goals of the department. In this area you have to spend time researching about the company through the internet and offline materials.

Be A Team Player
Your cover letter must not come across as an opportunity to highlight your achievements in isolation. You must communicate that you are a team player and are willing to undergo continual skills upgrading.

Overseas Travel
With the current workplace interconnectivity, it will not be surprising if your job requires occasional overseas trip. If you are agreeable of this requirement, it will be appropriate if you state your willingness to travel overseas in the cover letter.

Do a Spell-Check
Remember to run a spell-check to ensure that there are no grammatical mistakes in your cover letter. A good exercise is to print out a draft copy and scrutinize for mistakes.

Get that First Interview
This point sounds rather superfluous but your cover letter has to help you get an interview. It will not help if you provide a wrong contact number or appear to be too busy to come for an interview.

Do not be Critical
Do not be critical about your previous employer or your previous work environment. It is more forward-looking and professional to explain about how your previous job has provided you with relevant working experience.

Download Filesize
Cover Letter Format Guidelines 48.5 kb
Sample Cover Letter (Hard Copy Version) 26.3 kb
Sample Cover Letter (E-mail Version) 37.8 kb

 
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