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How to Write a Cover Letter

Cover Letter Writing Tips and Advice

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Use your cover letter to show the employer why you're a match for the job.

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Writing a cover letter can seem like a difficult task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing cover letters to send with your resume.

A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective cover letters.

A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression.

There are three general types of cover letters:

  • The application letter which responds to a known job opening (review samples)
  • The prospecting letter which inquires about possible positions (review samples)
  • The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search (review samples)

Your cover letter should be designed specifically for each purpose outlined above as well as for each position you seek. Do not design a form letter and send it to every potential employer (you know what you do with junk mail!).

Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences (remember, relevance is determined by the employer's self-interest). They should express a high level of interest and knowledge about the position.

Cover Letter Examples
Here are cover letters examples, both written and email, that are designed for a variety of different types of job applications and employment inquiries.

Cover Letter Format
This cover letter format lists the information you need to include in the cover letter you submit with your resume.

More Types of Cover Letters
There are other types of cover letters you may need to use, depending on the jobs for which you are applying. Here are examples of referral letters, prospecting letters, letters asking for job search help and more.

More About How to Write a Cover Letter
How to write a cover letter, including what to include in your cover letter, how to write a cover letter, cover letter format, targeted cover letters, and cover letter samples and examples.

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