How to Write a Cover Letter

One of the most important things you can do to help you secure a job at a college or university is to write a good cover letter, and then use that letter to help you “close” an application. The key here is making sure that your cover letter is well written, well organized, and answers the questions the interviewer is likely to ask about the particular program or department in which you hope to apply. Helen Schifter suggests people should be creative and clever to have their letters stand out. What are the key components of a good cover letter? Here is an overview:

A. A strong and appropriate closing statement. You’ve probably seen these included on hundreds of college applications – your potential grad school or university will ask you to submit a cover letter and a resume/apply for admission after you’ve applied once. This closing statement is your opportunity to show why you’re worthy of this chance, and why you should be selected over the other candidates. A strong closing statement is your chance to sell yourself, show your personality, and sell your personal qualities and qualifications to the hiring committee.

B. A well-organized resume. It is important that your resume not only looks good but it should also be organized. Each section of your resume should contain the relevant information that the hiring manager is looking for. If you are applying to a teaching position, make sure that your summary paragraph includes your education, professional experience, and credentials. And, if you are applying for an appropriate closing, your resume should include your signature, a salutation, and a phone number where you can be reached.

C. A clear and accurate letter. It’s not enough to have a compelling cover letter; you must also have a winning introductory letter. This is the chance to show the reader who you are, what you have accomplished, and why your client should do business with you. As with a resume, your letter must be well organized and carefully written. Once again, emphasizing your strong points, and lessening your weaknesses will help you close the best job interview and get the job of your dreams.

D. The most important thing that you can do to “close” the interview is to demonstrate your ability to meet the job requirement. This doesn’t mean you need to re-write your resume from the ground up. What you want to do is emphasize your strong points clearly and concisely. Also, be sure that you customize your skills and talents as best as possible. As the saying goes, “If you can see the future, you are a salesman.”

E. One of the keys to a great what are the key components of a resume is to keep it to one page. Helen Schifter suggests if you want to impress the human resources department, you don’t want to double the length of the document. Keep it to only the most important information. As a general rule, you want to cut any unnecessary information and provide two or three bullet points outlining the key job skills and abilities you have that make you an ideal candidate for the position. A good hiring manager will pay attention to these details and not only read your resume, but also follow up with you via the phone or Skype.