A cover letter is the window to demonstrate your communication and writing skills. Many candidates seem to overlook this important fact, and fail to submit it along with their resumes. It is used to highlight and focus your accomplishments, special skills, and talents.
Cover letters for resumes help focus on your background, ambitions, educations, and issues that cannot be mentioned in a resume. A well written cover letter makes the employer believe, that you are genuinely interested in the job, and have the required knowledge and skills. It should be written in a formal letter style.
Your cover letter creates the first impression on the prospective employer. Therefore, make use of proper punctuation, capitalization, and grammar in it. It indicates your professionalism and hence, you should be careful while drafting it.
You should first mention your name, address, email, and phone number. Then, you should write the date followed by the employer's name and address. You should also mention the contact person's name, if you know and also include it in the address block. Remember to address the letter as 'Dear Sir' or Dear Ma'am, or 'To Whom it May Concern'.
Paragraph One - Introduction
You need to introduce yourself and explain the reason of your writing. This paragraph should be enough for the prospective employer to know, why he should read your letter. You should state how you learned about the position, and the title of the position that you have applied for.
Paragraph Two - Education and Qualification
Here you should explain your education and qualification in brief. You should also mention your experience, and how will it be useful for the organization. You can write about what group of people you can work with, your expertise in any specific area, personal interests, etc.
This is where you should mention, why you would like to work with this particular employer and why are you the ideal candidate for the job. Ensure that you write in brief and not make it lengthy.
Paragraph Three - Closing Lines
Here, you thank the prospective employer for considering your job application. You can mention that, you are open to meet for a personal interview on a date suitable to the employer. This paragraph should be 2-3 sentences long. End the letter writing with 'Sincerely' and by signing your name under it.
Do not forget to write your full name below your signature. You should also mention the title 'Enclosure(s)' after your name, and write the names of the enclosed documents such as resume, experience letter, certificates, etc.
This document should be short. Do not use a lot of 'I' and passive voice. Also make sure to use good quality paper and envelope, if you are going to post it. Once you write it, make sure to proofread it. You can also ask someone else to read it before finally mailing it. This document should be flawless like your resume.
Check for punctuation, spellings, and any minor mistakes. Always remember that, a cover letter is written to complement your resume and should not be its exact copy.