Updated December 16, 2013: Here's the latest information on cover letter and resume writing for 2014.
Updated August 22, 2013: What's the best type of cover letter for job seekers to use? How can you get noticed in a very competitive job market?
What's most important doesn't change much year over year and cover letters haven't gone out of style. Many employers require job applicants to submit a cover letter with their resume, but writing a generic "I am interested in a job" letter won't cut it.
It's still, and always, important to take the time to write a personalized cover letter which explains why you are a strong candidate for the job.
What to Include in a Cover Letter
This takes some time, but every cover letter you write should be customized for the position you are applying for. Specifically relate your qualifications for the job to those listed in the job posting.
Also, include keywords relevant to the position you're applying for because most large companies use computerized applicant tracking systems to review job applications and if you include the right keywords, your cover letter and resume will have a better chance of being selected.
Your cover letter doesn't have to be long. A one page letter with two or three paragraphs is appropriate for most cover letters. A survey from Saddleback College reports that almost 44% of employers think a 1/2 page cover letter is fine, only 12% expect a full page letter.
Review Cover Letter Samples
When you're not sure how to get started or what to write, review these cover letter samples to get ideas for your own personalized cover letters. If you need a letter for a specific job, review our A - Z list of cover letter examples for many occupations. Then tailor your own letter so it's a match for the job for which you are applying.
Keep in mind, as well, that email cover letter needs to be as properly formatted as a typed cover letter. Here are examples of cover letters formats and cover letter email message formats to review.
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