Building the Best Cover Letter

When you are applying to a job, to a school, to anything, you have to present the best cover letter you possibly can.  Your cover letter is your first chance to make an impression.  In a way, it point blank is your first impression.  It is the first thing interviewers will see, the first thing they will read, and as such, you have to present yourself well.  The following cover letter tips will thus help you to craft the greatest cover letter, in order to pique anyone’s attention and reel them in.

First, let us talk about when you need to use a cover letter.  Really, unless someone specifically says that they do not want applicants to include one, you need it.  It goes before your resume or your curriculum vitae which is, of course, basically a list of your accomplishments, work experience, and schooling.  Cover letter writing is designed to introduce you to the employer and/or interviewer.  So you can clearly understand why it is so important when it comes to making a good impression.  Before writing one, you need to know as much as possible about the job or school to which you are applying.  That way, you can make sure to include the most relevant information, such as your goals in general and the goals you have for working at or going to that institution.  You should never send in your cover letter or resume to a company or school about which you know nothing.

The best cover letter is going to be both specific and personal.  You really need to refer to a particular person in the company or school when writing one.  You need to be planning even as you are planning to send it in, such as deciding what to do if no one from the company or institution calls you.  Never wait for them to call you, as far as that goes.

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Back to the process of cover letter writing, however, it needs to contain a few important things, no matter what.  First of all, within your cover letter you need to describe exactly how your “product” – whether it is your expertise, your intellect, your desire to learn, your skills, et cetera – will do for the institution and its customers.  You also need to talk about what the interviewer has to do in order to attain your product – mind, however, this applies more to business cover letter writing.  If at any time you do not know how your skills will benefit a particular institution, then you need to stop right there and go back to square one.  Think about it; think about whether or not that particular place is the right one for you.  Rather than the best cover letter, you will actually end up writing the worst one if you try to force yourself into a niche that you do not really fit into at all.

Finally, the best cover letter will also follow one basic formula.  You start off by addressing it in the standard business letter format – name of the prospect, the title, the company, and the address in the top left.  Include a salutation to a specific person, then move onto the first paragraph, where you describe exactly why you are writing.  The second paragraph contains some of your greatest skills and why they are beneficial.  The third paragraph contains your closing – both of the later and the “sale.”  Taking a look at a good cover letter example will demonstrate a firsthand look of how your letter should appear.

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