Cover Letters

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The main purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself in a way that is memorable to the employer. A good cover letter enables the employer to get a quick snapshot of you as a person and goes beyond the résumé or C.V. in enabling the employer to deem your fit with their company.

Most job applications would require you to submit a cover letter with a résumé and other job application materials. Make sure to keep the cover letter concise because employers typically spend very little time reviewing it. Also, it is very important to mould your cover letter to every job you apply for.

Since your C.V. or résumé is already specifying a list of all your accomplishments, avoid detailing the same information in your cover letter. Use it as a opportunity to showcase who you are as a person and only draw attention to the most important aspects of your C.V. or résumé that makes you an ideal candidate.

Structuring the Cover Letter

Although there is no specific format that you must follow for a cover letter, people most often stick to one that has 3-4 paragraphs. It is best to keep this letter to a single page. Below is a general structure that most people use.

Memorable Introduction: You can start your cover letter by addressing it directly to the hiring manager by name if you know who that is, or simply “Dear Hiring Manager”. In the first paragraph, you can start with an opening statement that captures who you are and why you see yourself as the ideal candidate for the job. You can also highlight aspects of the company that drew you to it to highlight your fit with the company culture.

Body Paragraph/s: In the main body of the letter, you can draw their attention to key experiences or skills relevant to the job. Make sure to research the job and the company to ensure that you are highlighting aspects they consider vital for the position. Make sure you do not simply restate your résumé or C.V. This is an opportunity for you to give employers a glimpse of who you are as a person in addition to all of your experiences.

Conclusion Paragraph: Conclude your cover letter by indicating your enthusiasm for the position and also offering them the opportunity to gain additional information if they need. Be sure to thank them for considering your candidacy.

For more information on cover letters and sample cover letters, refer to the following links. These are just a few examples. You can search online for additional information as well.

  1. Penn State’s Career Resource Center’s page on “Cover Letters
  2. Glassdoor’s guide on “How to write a cover letter
  3. How to write a cover letter: 31 tips” by The Muse
  4. How to format a cover letter” by Indeed
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