How to write a Cover Letter

1.) Format your letter correctly. Add a letterhead to the top of the page. Your letterhead should easy to read, professional-looking and include your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. Write the recipient’s name and address and the date below the letterhead on the right hand side. Set your margins to one-inch and use a professional font, in black, throughout the cover letter.  

2.) Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure who the recipient is, write, “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; however, it is always best to address a cover letter to a real person to make it look like you’re not sending form letters.

3.) State your goal in the first paragraph. Tell the employer why you are writing to them in two or three sentences including what position you are applying for and how you became aware of the position, especially if it was through a mutual contact or a program like Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. Be sure to compliment the organization on what they have done right and what you admire about them. This will show that you’ve taken the time to get to know the company in detail.

4.) Outline your qualifications in the middle paragraph. Show how your education and experience suit the requirements of the position, and, by elaborating on a few points from your resume, explain what you could contribute to the organization. Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter accordingly. Your letter should complement, not restate, your resume.

5.) Encourage the employer to contact you.  Direct the employer to your enclosed resume and make sure you specify that you’re available for an interview. Finish off by thanking the reader for their time and consideration, and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation.

6.) Thank the reader. It’s a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time. After that, write “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” or “Regards,” leave several spaces, and print your name.

7.) Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter digitally, it’s a good idea to scan and add your signature, write it in with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with appropriate software.