The cover letter

Spend time on your cover letter to help you get noticed fast.

Once you’ve created a great resume, it’s time to focus on your cover letter. Whether it’s a hard copy letter you send, or the body of an email that accompanies your attached resume file, a cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and getting ignored.

Follow these tips for creating a powerful cover letter.

Make it personal and direct

If you can, use the name of the hiring manager or person who will be reviewing your resume in your letter greeting. This makes it more personal than just using “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam.”

Also, mention the position you’re applying for and how you heard about it (online, job board, referral from a contact) in the first paragraph.

Give specific examples of your experience
In the letter, explain why you’re a perfect fit for the job by giving specific examples. Feel free to use some of the exact words and phrases from the job posting. If possible, try to create a concise list of your experiences and how they fit with the qualifications listed in the ad.

Sign off with thanks and contact info
The last paragraph of your cover letter should include the easiest way for the hiring manager to contact you. If you want to, close with a genuine “thank you” and even a confident request for an interview — such as “I look forward to meeting you — can we schedule an interview?”

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

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