Cover Letter for Employment Opportunities

When you're submitting a cover letter for employment opportunities, following a few simple tips will help you to write a truly effective letter. Use this sample outline to write a winning cover letter for employment opportunities every time:

Contact Information

  • Include your contact information first.

  • You may chose to structure your contact information the traditional way you would structure a letter.

  • Another great option for your contact information is to structure it exactly the same way you structured your contact information on your resume. This option is effective because, when the employer looks at your letter alongside your resume and reference sheet that are structured in the same way, it makes a very professional looking, pulled together package.

  • Include the date and the employer's contact information next as you would in any formal business letter.

  • Do your best to find the full company address. Sometimes this is not possible. If a fax number is the only contact information you have for the employer, that's what you'll include here.

Salutation

  • Again, do your absolute best to research and determine the correct name of the hiring manager

  • If you cannot determine a name, "Attention: Hiring Manager" is a good option and preferable to "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom it May Concern" which come across as being cold to many people.

  • Using the word "attention" instead of "dear" is helpful when the gender of the hiring manger is unclear. For example, if you know the hiring manager is Chris Smith, you may not be certain whether Chris is a man or a woman. Writing "Dear Mr. Smith:" on your letter is a risk, because Chris Smith could just as easily be a woman. Instead, write "Attention: Chris Smith" and you will eliminate the gender issue entirely.

The First Paragraph - The What Paragraph

In the first paragraph of your letter, you'll note what position you are seeking. Avoid stale first lines that are not unique to you.

The Second Paragraph – The Why Paragraph

In the second paragraph you'll outline exactly why the employer should hire you. Some people find it difficult to write this paragraph because they feel they've already used their resume to describe the reasons why an employer should hire them. Keep in mind that some employers use your cover letter as a way of determining whether they're going to read your resume, so it's important to include your most marketable skills and qualifications on your cover letter.

You can use your letter to go into a little more detail about important achievements because you're not constrained by the structure of a resume.

The Third Paragraph – The Why Else Paragraph (Optional)

Including this paragraph is completely optional. If you want to detail a lot of reasons why the employer should hire you, it's best to break the text up into two shorter, easier to read paragraphs. You may consider breaking this section into a paragraph on your soft skills and a paragraph on your technical skills.

The Fourth Paragraph – The When Paragraph

In this paragraph, note when you will be in contact with the employer. If you are writing a cover letter for employment that is advertised, and the ad states "no phone calls please," use this paragraph to invite the employer to contact you.

If it is fine to contact the employer, and you have the employer's contact information, say you will do so. This approach gives you some control in the process so you're not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. If you say you're going to call the employer, you must do it or you'll come across as though you don't follow through on what you say you will do.

Complimentary Close and Signature

Always use a formal close such as "Sincerely" or "Best Regards". Anything else is just too informal. Don't forget to sign your cover letters. Use blue ink so it's clear it is not a photocopy.

You're not quite finished writing your cover letter for employment opportunities. Before you submit your letter, proof read, proof read, proof read. Even the tiniest error can put you in the 'no' pile. Employers assume your letter represents you at your very best. As is the case with your resume, your cover letters for employment opportunities must be completely error free.



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