Cover Letters

Just as you probably have more than one version of a resume, you may also need to create cover letters that are specific to the type of job or industry segment you are targeting. It is a good idea to have at least one general-purpose cover letter prepared as a starting point.

Cover Letter Format

Preparing Cover Letters

Make your cover letters very short. A paragraph or two, plus a few bullet points, is all you need. In your bullet points, focus on your accomplishments as they relate to the job you are applying for and the benefits the employer would receive if they hired you. Some people have found good success in creating a short table that lists the employer's job requirements in one column, and their matching skills and accomplishments in a second column.

To test the effectiveness of your cover letter, give it to a friend and give them five seconds to look it over. Then ask them what significant points they got from it. If they don’t tell you the same thing you wanted the employer to see, re-write it and try again.

Be sure you put all your contact information (address, phone, email, etc.) on the cover letter. You want to make it easy for prospective employers to contact you. If you are responding to an email or Internet job posting, you can include your cover letter as an attachment, or you can simply cut and paste the appropriate text into the body of the email.

Interested in seeing more templates? A quick search for "Microsoft templates" will take you to Microsoft's website where a large repository of templates can be found. You may download their templates for free, however; you are encouraged to use the templates as a guide and modify them to meet your particular needs and to maintain a degree of uniqueness. You do not want your resumes or cover letters to appear like you downloaded them and simply changed a few words.