Your cover letter should convey a professional message that informs your prospective employer of why you are the most capable candidate for the job.
The format of a cover letter heavily depends on the type of organization to which you are applying; an accounting position at a legal firm would require something more formal than a position as a graphic designer at Google.
Here is the traditional approach to a cover letter:
- Use standard margins
- Align all paragraphs to the left of the page
- Single-space between heading and greeting
- Single-spaced body paragraphs
- Double-spaced between each paragraph
- Three spaces between closing and your typed name
- Sign your name in ink between closing and your typed name
- Center letter from top and bottom of the page
Organizing Your Cover Letter
A cover letter has four essential parts:
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Human Resources Manager or Hiring Manager
Company Phone Number
Your cover letter introduction should include a salutation, such as “Dear John Smith.” Avoid using salutations (Mr., Mrs., etc.), unless you are certain of the recipient’s gender.
The body of your introduction should communicate who you are and why you are writing. You can also include how you heard about the position and why you think you’re qualified, briefly stating your education or professional experience that qualifies you for the position.
If you have previously met the reader of your cover letter, it is acceptable to use your introduction to remind your reader of who you are and briefly mention a specific topic of your previous conversation.
Most importantly, summarize how your goals align with the organization’s and clearly state how your skills would benefit the organization.
Your argument is essential, as it enables you to convince the hiring contact of why you’re the ideal candidate for the position in which you’re applying. Powerful arguments are convincing, so be sure you concisely articulate relevant details and data about past successes. You can also reference information included in your resume so solidify your argument.
Your argument should:
- Convey why you’re a good match for the organization’s mission/goals and job requirements
- Convince your reader how the company will benefit from hiring you
- Maintain a humble, personable tone
- Reference your resume to support your argument
Your closing should:
- Restate how your goals align with the organization’s
- Reiterate how your skills match the position requirements
- Inform your readers when you will follow-up with them
- Include your phone number and e-mail address
- Thank your readers for their consideration