Money & Business

Career Coach: Cover Letter Basics

By / Aug 1, 2019 (g-stockstudio/Getty Images)

Advice from certified career and executive coach Marshall Brown.

Do cover letters really matter? They most certainly do. A well-written cover letter is a critical way for you to introduce yourself to a prospective employer and set yourself apart from the other applicants who didn’t take the time to craft one.

What makes for a successful cover letter? Your letter should be short but filled with information. Successful cover letters are personal, engaging, and dynamic, showing the hiring manager your interest in the organization and the position and your readiness for a challenge. Every cover letter, like every resume, must be tailored to the specific position. That means don’t use a cover letter template.

How do you start a cover letter? The first paragraph should indicate the job you are applying for and how you heard about it. For example: “I am very excited to be submitting my attached resume for the position of meeting planner, which I found on your career site.”

The next paragraph should sell your skills and explain why you have exactly the background the organization is looking for. Look at the job posting and carefully match your experience to the job requirements.

How should you wrap it up? Close the letter by thanking the recruiter for considering your resume—and be sure to provide your contact information. End with a request for an interview, but don’t be pushy. Let the recruiter know you look forward to joining and contributing to the team.

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