Cover Letters for Resumes

The resume cover letter is something many job seekers put only a little bit of thought into before attaching it to their resume. Unfortunately, this is often the first impression an employer will get of you and can make or break a job interview. Cover letters for resumes should always be carefully constructed to highlight your skills and should only include those skills pertinent to the job you are applying for at the time. Your cover letter is your introduction and provides you with the opportunity to impress your future employer before meeting them for a face to face interview.

Cover letters for resumes are normally constructed with your name and contact information in the top, right-hand, corner of the page. You should place the name and contact information for the employer below your information. Each cover letter is constructed for a specific job with a specific company and should reflect the name and address information for only one employer. You can include a reference line, if you want to, prior to the greeting of the letter. If you do include a reference line, you should reference the job title (or advertisement number if applicable).

The body of the cover letter should include no more than four paragraphs, less if possible, and should not carry over onto a second page. This is a concise description of you and your skills, not the resume itself. The first paragraph should cite how you located the position you are applying for and provide the reason for contacting the employer. They will want to know why you are applying for this job. This is the paragraph where you will make it personal to the specific employer and show them you are happy to come to work for them.

The second paragraph is where you will showcase your skills, as they pertain to the specific position you are applying for. This is the best place to talk about your accomplishments and convince the employer you are the best qualified applicant for the position. Let the employer know why you would be a good fit in their organisation, without repeating any of the information you have in your resume.

The third paragraph is optional in cover letters for resumes. If you choose to include this paragraph, place information about some unique skill set that you can bring to the position with the employer. This is the hook to get the employer to read your resume. The fourth paragraph should summarize your interest in a personal interview with the employer. It is best to note here what days and times you are available to meet with the employer for a face-to-face.

Always end the letter with the professional salutation, Sincerely, and your name. Leave a space between these two lines for your handwritten signature, which makes the cover letter more personal. Note below the closing that you are enclosing your resume with the cover letter. A well written cover letter is a lead in to a well written resume and will make the right impression with a potential employer. Hiring decisions are often influenced by the inclusion of a well written cover letter. Keeping the information in the cover letter contained, concise and limited to a single page will best influence employers and hiring managers.