Q:

How do you write a cover letter for a job application?

A:

Overall, the cover letter should convey the essential message of what position is being applied for and why the reader should consider the attached application. A cover letter is an essential part of a job search or work proposal and should be viewed as an opportunity to garner the attention of the reader.

It is important to research the company in question beyond the job description itself. In this way, the letter can be drafted to address not only the specific job, but the corporate culture, direction the company is taking and any specific relevant issues; for example, the job may have been posted in anticipation of future growth or to handle a particular area of business.

Other important issues:

  • The letter should be addressed to a specific person: the names of HR personnel and managers are easy to find on a corporate website.
  • The opening should not be generic sounding or unspecific. A strong, interesting and intriguing opening that immediately addresses the specific position garners the reader's attention immediately.
  • A void a bland, impersonal tone. The writing style should match that of the corporation's own communications in terms of tone and language, but within those parameters should also convey the personality of the writer along with a sense of enthusiasm or anticipation about the job.
  • The cover letter's length should be no more than one page long.

Research and preparation will produce the best results. More than anything, a cover letter should be treated as an essential first foot in the door.

Sources:

  1. hbr.org
  2. vt.edu

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