A cover letter is a formal way of introducing yourself to a prospective employer. It should inform the employer of your interest in the position along with experience and qualifications that make you a good candidate. Cover letters must be individually written each time that you apply for a job. Careful consideration is needed when preparing a cover letter because it is usually the first document read, even before the resume, and employers often use it to evaluate your writing skills and professionalism.
An effective cover letter should be either employer- or position-specific, and be well-written. Highlight particular skills and experience you have that are applicable to the position. A cover letter is typically three paragraphs long, each paragraph with its own purpose:
• 1st paragraph: Begin by stating why you are writing, whether inquiring about a particular position, or obtaining general information. How did you discover the opportunity (referral, website, etc.)?
• 2nd paragraph: Let the reader know how your skills align with their needs. Include specific background information that relates to the position, be it experience or education.
• 3rd paragraph: Conclude by telling the reader how you plan to follow up in a timely fashion. Take this opportunity to show them you intend to be proactive, which appeals to prospective employers. Provide the most dependable method of contact for yourself, usually either a phone number or email address.