What Should Your Cover Letter Do For You?
It should answer the question - Why should I hire you? It should grab the employers’ attention and point out why you, above all other applicants, should be contacted for a personal interview.
The resume should never travel alone. Each time you submit your resume to an employer, you should enclose a cover letter that explains why you are submitting the resume. A cover letter is critical to creating interest in your candidacy, even for an internship or volunteer opportunity. The cover letter is your “sales pitch”. It gives you the opportunity to draw an employer’s attention to the skills and experience outlined in your resume. You can expand on certain courses or job responsibilities that particularly match the position for which to be considered. It also gives you a chance to highlight special achievements that might otherwise go overlooked. In summarizing your qualifications, highlight your most appropriate skills or background in relation to a particular position without simply reiterating the information on your resume. Refer the reader to your enclosed resume for further elaboration your past accomplishments. Be direct and brief. Structure your cover letter with three sections: FIRST PARAGRAPH: This is the "why I'm writing to you" paragraph which immediately tells the employer the position you want to be considered for. This is short - usually 2-3 sentences. Points to cover: Why you are writing and which position you are applying for. How you heard about the position is irrelevant unless it is a mutual contact or recruiting program. Do not write, "I learned of this opportunity through the Career Services Office." Show from your research why you are interested in this position or organization. The goal is to make a connection - do this briefly and specifically or leave it out; sweeping statements will not work. SECOND PARAGRAPH: This is the "why I'm qualified" paragraph. Highlight