5 Most Important Points to Include in a Cover Letter

By | October 26, 2014

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Most people are aware that job applications often require a cover letter. However, few realize how much this letter can help them obtain an interview, and hopefully, a job offer. If you are interested in making an unforgettable first impression on a potential employer, here are five important points to include in your cover letter.

1)      Your contact information

The first point to include is your contact information. Be sure you have provided your complete mailing and email addresses along with a telephone number. Do not use your contact information at a current employer.

Also, take advantage of social media. Sites such as Linkedin can help you build an online professional presence that includes such helpful information as your work experience, career goals, and recommendations from others. Potential employers can obtain a wealth of positive information about you by clicking one simple link within your contact information.

2)      The desired job and how you heard about it

The cover letter is considered a legal document, so you want to clearly state the position you’re applying for and that you want to be considered for it. This also makes sorting applications easier for human resources and demonstrates that you have fit your application to the specific position.

Also, most employers want to know what works with job searches. By sharing the location you found the job posting, you help the potential employer identify where they are finding quality candidates like you. Place all of this information into the first paragraph of your letter.

3)      A direct response to the key qualifications

An important part of a cover letter is responding directly to the key qualifications, skills, and other attributes listed in the ad. It’s fine, and maybe even preferable, to categorize this information because some postings are quite detailed. For example, you could start your second paragraph with a summary statement like: “Based upon the job posting, you are interested in someone who is technically fluent and who has supervision experience.” You would then concisely explain how you meet those two criteria.

Be sure to use the same key terms that the job posting does. The employer chose those specific words to describe the ideal candidate. Therefore, use them to describe what a great match you are for their needs.

4)      Your uniqueness

The harsh reality is that many candidates will be able to pass through the above employment filters. The next paragraph should share something unique that you would bring to the position. This is a great place to highlight something that may not be readily understood from a standard application or to explain a gap or potential shortfall between your experience and their desired qualifications.

5)      Your interest

Finally, one unwritten quality most hiring managers look for in candidates is a true interest in the position and organization. Share a few sentences at the end of your letter about how this job or company connects with the career you hope to have or what you hope to achieve. Let the potential employer see that you’re ambitious and eager for the opportunity.

It’s important to note that most of the above points involve tailoring your letter to the specific opening and audience. Imagine you are that prospective employer and make sure you would want to hire the applicant. If you write a response to each of these five points that is targeted directly at a specific employer, you should do well with your job search.