A cover letter is a way of introducing yourself and your interest in a specific job. The cover letter, along with your resumé, should provide all of the information necessary for a potential employer to decide if you make it to the next stage in the job hunting process: the interview.
Your cover letter will give the reader insight into your personality, attention to detail and specific interest in the position for which you are applying. Use your cover letter to set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool. The best cover letters spark the employer’s interest and create an impression of competence.
Take the time to personalize your cover letter to each recipient as it shows that you are not just looking for any job, but rather you are interested in that job specifically. Your cover letter should reflect that you have done some research in to the place of business and you feel that the skills and knowledge that you have would be ideal for the job in question.
A cover letter should always be addressed to a specific person rather than just a department. This information can usually be found out by searching the employer’s web site or calling to see who is in charge of the hiring process. Personalized letters mean that your letter will be read by the person it is intended for, and not get lost in the shuffle.
Cover letters should be written in standard business format with your and the employee’s address at the top and your signature above your typed name at the bottom. All letters should be single spaced, flush left, with each paragraph followed by a blank line. Remember to use the same font on both your resumé and cover letter to increase the flow of information. Use a standard font (Arial or Times New Roman, 11 or 12 font size.) Use professional, polite words.
Cover letters are divided into three parts: Opening, Body, and Closing. The first paragraph indicates which job you are applying for and how you heard about the position.
The body of your letter should consist of one to three paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the position. This is where you relate your skills, accomplishments, results and strengths to the employer’s needs.
The concluding paragraph of your letter should indicate your plan to follow up in some way to the letter. This is where you thank the employer for his or her time and consideration and perhaps request an interview. State where and when you can be reached and express your willingness to supply further information.
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- Always tie skills in with accomplishments and refer to resumé.
- Always indicate follow up plan and the method/time in which you can be contacted.
- Always include a thank you.
- Remember to state at the bottom that your resumé is enclosed.
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Take the time to proof read your cover letter.
- Keep a copy of every letter sent for future reference and follow up.
Whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced health care professional looking for a new challenge, OPA has tips to help you from your first draft of your resumé to the final interview.