Appearance and Format
Help your cover letter to stand out by keeping it clean, simple, and professional. Above all, carefully proofread, so it is free of grammatical and spelling errors. Self-editing is not trustworthy, so enlist help from a friend or family member, or from me, your resume consultant in Calgary. Double-check the spelling of the company's name and person to whom you are addressing the letter.
Follow standard business formatting guidelines, as seen in this image. For a digital version, format your cover letter and resume as a PDF. For a hard copy, consider using unique paper stock and custom letterhead.
Tone and Structure
The tone should be positive, direct, and professional; it should also be free of quips and idioms. Moreover, write to a person, not an entire organization. Focus the letter on how you will add value to the company, not your skills and experience. Three to four paragraphs is an appropriate length.
First paragraph: Introduce yourself and discuss why you want the job. Briefly mention your most relevant experience and emphasize why the company or the job interests you. Be specific!
· Avoid generalizations such as, "… because your company is a leader in XX industry…" or "…I want to work with a quality organization…"
Instead, mention something specific about the company that intrigues you. For example, "…because xyz Company has recently been awarded “preferred vendor status” with xyz…" or "…having read the 5-year strategic plan outlined on your website, I passionately believe that I have a winning combination of technical skills and business nous needed to help you attain those targets in your target market…"
Second paragraph: Next, discuss how your unique experience, skills, and attributes will add value to the company. Look for clues about what to highlight in the job posting. For example, if an employer asks for an outgoing personality, mention you enjoy working closely with clients, because of xyz reason. If the job requires specific technical skills, mention your certifications and summarize your experience with those skills.
Third paragraph: Depending on your style and the job, you might want to include a third paragraph or a short list of bullet points to highlight specific examples that substantiate key points in the second paragraph. Share specific examples that are not included on your resume or CV. Be prepared to discuss these examples in detail during an interview.
Conclusion: Graciously close by thanking the reader for his or her time. Always include when and how to contact you, and insert a statement such as "I look forward to speaking with you in person about this position."
Make it Count
While not every employer requests a cover letter, it is always wise to compose and send one with your resume as it can help differentiate you from other applicants. Aside from standard formatting, you might also personalize the letter and make it unique by adding a head shot, links to your social profiles, or link to your online portfolio or website.
Above all, be positive, specific, and direct to make your cover letter a worthwhile read and an effective tool to pique the employer's interest. For help constructing your cover letter, consider me as your personal professional resume and cover letter writer in Calgary!