A cover letter requires the same care and attention that a resume demands. The purpose of your cover letter is to tailor your message to the specifics of the role and to set your resume apart from others.
The first step in writing a great cover letter is to thoroughly review the role in which you are applying for and make note of skills or responsibilities that align to your background. Provide examples of some of the skills or responsibilities in your cover letter. A cover letter should not echo your resume. It should zero in why you are a good fit for the role in three to four paragraphs.
You will not use the same cover letter twice. It is vital that you tailor it to each position you applying for. If possible, personalize the letter using the hiring manager or recruiter’s name. Place the name, title, company name and address in the left hand corner of your cover letter. The more personal, the better.
The opening paragraph should state the role that you are applying for, and a statement of why you are confident that you are the best fit. The second paragraph should explain to your reader why he or she should consider you for the role. Stress your experiences and how they relate to the role, not why their company would be a good fit for your career. Paragraph three should be used to provide additional points of relevance about you that may not be part of the job description. The closing paragraph should bring the letter to a polite end. (i.e. “I hope to have an opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss how I could contribute to your team. Yours sincerely.”)
Remember, job applications are scanned over in seconds by a human eye, or in some cases a by software. In both instances the reader is looking to see if your skills and experience match the criteria detailed in the job ad. Best of luck to you!