Cover letters seems to be a lost art. In a world of emailed resumes many job seekers believe a short email with an attachment will be enough. Many employers are requesting cover letters from potential candidates to provide additional insight into them as individuals and help determine who stands out in the crowd. So how do you know the right way to format and write a cover letter? Here is an easy to follow blueprint for after your opening line.

  • First paragraph. This is your introduction and the best place to make the right first impression. You are explaining yourself to someone who has never met you before and you want them to be so interested they’ll continue reading. Share a bit about who you are, your strengths, your experience, and your accomplishments. Be sure to describe your accomplishments humbly so you do not sound like your boasting unnecessarily.
  • Second paragraph. Here is where you should use some information you’ve gathered from researching the company prior to sending your resume. Tell them about your career goals and specifically why you believe that you are a fit for this position and their company.  Tailor your paragraph to their organization rather than writing something that sounds like a form letter.
  • Closing statement. In the final paragraph, reiterate what you are looking for and how, by hiring you, the company will benefit. Make sure they know how to contact you and that you will be available to speak with them as soon as possible. Include your email address, LinkedIn profile, and other ways they can see your work on the web.
  • Additional letter writing tips. Never address a letter “To Whom It May Concern.” Do everything in your power to get the name of the hiring manager or recruiter. You can use LinkedIn to find most of this information. If you are unable to determine a name, simply open the cover letter with “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon.” Close the letter with a phrase like, “Thank you for your time and consideration.” Avoid “Thank you in advance.”

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