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How to Write a Cover Letter

Cover letters are part of a variety of correspondence, the most common being a job application. When you have seen an ad for a position, and wish to apply, you're going to submit two things: your cover letter, and your resume/curriculum vitae.

The purpose of a cover letter is to indicate your interest in the position offered, introduce yourself and your qualifications, and briefly highlight your skills or experience relative to the advertised opening.

In the first paragraph, state your interest in the job, and how you found out about it. Follow that with a statement on why you are interested in this particular job, and/or company.

The balance of the letter should be 2-3 longer paragraphs, discussing key features of your education, experience, and skills that you have to offer the company. Keep the length to no more than one page.

For instance, you may start off with "As a graduate of MIT, who has worked in Civil Engineering for the City of Los Angeles over the past three years, I have a keen interest in the managerial aspects of my profession, and would like to tender an application for the position which was advertised in the Courier-Herald newspaper, Dec.1, 2005."

That introduction can then lead into a paragraph on your educational background and the highpoints of any positions previous to your last job. After that, you can give a précis of your present job, along with what skills you have enhanced through the experience, and what your special areas of focus have been.

Conclude with a request for an interview or opportunity to apply, and give your contact information. Be sure to demonstrate a willingness to interview or supply further information, and thank the addressee for their time and consideration.