Are you seeking work or making a formal proposal to a peer? Then you want to understand the purpose and composition of the covering letter to accompany your resume, application, email, or facsimile.
The covering letter is a short introduction to your main document, generally used to accompany an application or resume for employment. Cover letters should be short and to the point. If you are submitting a resume, you do not need to repeat information in the covering letter. When accompanying your resume, you want that cover letter to highlight the main reason you are writing this person or company, what relevant skills or qualifications you have and why you believe you should be considered for the post.
The main reason for a covering letter is to allow an employee to make a first introduction and so an employer can get a general feel of the applicant’s manner and nature. This is why a covering letter is vital to any application as it is like the opening pages of a book. You want to ensure your application is eye-catching and a good covering letter will allow you to do this.
Cover letters should be set out in the same fashion as a letter and include the following items:
1. The employment post your application is relevant to.
2. Full title of person to whom it is directed or a polite heading, Dear Sir or Madame or To Whom It May Concern if you do not have their name.
3. Brief one or two line informative statement of why you are contacting them and a reference to what topic or position. (This could also be a re: item above spaced across from the heading) This is the area in which you would also indicate any referral information, such as who told you about this job.
4. Briefly highlight what you feel is your best reason for being considered for this job or loan or whatever you are applying for.
5. Polite closing, Thank you or Thank you for your consideration; please feel free to contact me, or, I will be contacting you this week, thank you
You need to keep your covering letter “short and sweet” as it accompanies the main document and you do not wish to bore the receiver. It is important to be concise and clear. If they do not get past your covering letter, your resume will not be seen. Your resume needs to be concise and well organized. Do not include too much, for example irrelevant employment that you held thirty years ago.
At the bottom of your covering letter, just below the closing, you may list what attachments are included. This is your opportunity to show that you have paid attention to their ad by submitting any items they requested be submitted, such as references, salary requirements, etc.
A general rule of thumb, do not go beyond one page. Save the rest for the interview by keeping the employer interest and wanting to invite for an interview personally. A solid application contained within a concise template should assist you in establishing an interview. Good luck!