To begin planning your letter, decide which type of application letter you need. This decision is in part based on requirements that employers may have, and in part based on what your background and employment needs are. In many ways, types of application letters are like the types of resumes. The types of application letters can be defined according to amount and kind of information:
Objective letters One type of letter says very little: it identifies the position being sought, indicates an interest in having an interview, and calls attention to the fact that the resume is attached. It also mentions any other special matters that are not included on the resume, such as dates and times when you are available to come in for an interview. This letter does no salesmanship and is very brief. (It may represent the true meaning of "cover" letter.)
Highlight letters Another type of application letter, the type you do for most technical writing courses, tries to summarize the key information from the resume, the key information that will emphasize that you are a good candidate for the job. In other words, it selects the best information from the resume and summarizes it in the letter this type of letter is especially designed to make the connection with the specific job.
How do you know which to write? For most technical-writing courses, write the highlight letter. However, in "real-life" situations, it's anybody's guess. Try calling the prospective employer; study the job advertisement for clues.
Common Sections in Application Letters
As for the actual content and organization of the paragraphs within the application letter (specifically the highlight type of application letter), consider the following comon approaches.
Introductory paragraph. That first paragraph of the application letter is the most important; it sets everything up the tone, focus, as well as your most important qualification. A typical... [continues]
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