How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

Your cover letter presents you to a potential employer for the first time.  It gives greater depth to the information contained in your resume, and it conveys your enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.

With so much riding on your cover letter, it is essential to write one that draws the reader’s attention directly to the content – without causing unnecessary distraction.  A professional, aesthetically-pleasing cover letter will help your application rise to the top among countless others that may be submitted, improving your chances of receiving an interview.

To nix the clutter and make your cover letter stand out for the right reasons, employ the following tips:

Keep it brief.  A cover letter should fill no more than one page, including the heading and signature.  Aim for three brief paragraphs that cover the following topics:

  1. Introduction.  Introduce yourself and why you’re writing to them.  State where you found the job posting, and comment briefly on why you are applying to this particular organization.
  2. Summary.  Summarize your qualifications to highlight your strengths and demonstrate how you would be a good fit with the organization.  While you should avoid repeating information on your resume, you can mention it in order to expand on how a particular job, degree, or other experience makes you a great candidate for this particular job.
  3. Closing.  In the final paragraph, thank the employer for his or her time. Then, state your desired next step. For instance, you may ask the employer to contact you or give a date and time when you will contact the employer to follow up on your letter.

Format correctly.  Leave one-inch margins on all four sides, and use a simple, professional font in 10 or 12 point type.  Have a trusted friend or colleague review your cover letter for misspellings, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies between the letter and your resume.  For instance, if your resume gives specific job titles or dates, and you have mentioned these same job titles or dates in your cover letter, the information on both should match.

Stay focused.  Your cover letter should explain to a specific hiring manager why you are a great candidate for the job.  Issues like salary requirements, visas or other work restrictions, or personal circumstances should be saved for the interview or the onboarding process.  A recruiter can help you determine which information is appropriate for your cover letter, review your letter, and give you tips to strengthen it.

At Marquee Staffing, our team of recruiters is dedicated to matching job-seekers with great positions that help them fulfill their career goals.  Whether you’re trying to get back into the job market or are looking for a change, contact us today!