From Forward Blog’s “What to Cover in your Cover Letter“:
First of all, cover letters are not meant for you to repeat every qualification that you listed on your resume. It is a general introduction about you and maybe a stand-out qualification or experience. According to Joann Lublin of The Wall Street Journal, “an estimated 85% of cover letters are so flawed that senders never land an interview.” It is important that you put just as much attention into perfecting your cover letter as you would your resume. Often in a frenzy to apply for that perfect job one comes across, job candidates will throw together a cover letter to accompany that perfect resume. Unfortunately, the recruiter’s view of you is automatically tainted by the scantily-written cover letter inundated with grammatical errors and poorly worded sentences. This letter is the first impression they will have of you. Is your cover letter well- thought-out and professional, or is it thrown together in desperate need of a proofreader?
- The first paragraph should tell who you are, what position you are applying for and how you heard about the position.
- The second paragraph should give a brief summary of your qualification for the position.(Keep in mind that sometime the recruiter will just glance at your cover letter at best and then go straight to the resume. ALL qualifications need to be listed on the resume. Do not assume that because you listed something in the cover letter that you do not need to cover it again in the resume.)
- The third paragraph should indicate what you want (an interview) and how they can get in touch with you. Make it easy for the recruiter or hiring manager to get in touch with you. Contact information should be on your cover letter and resume.
- Margins should be standard 1 inch.
- Everything should be left justified
- Do not take your cover letter over 1 page…the recruiter probably will not read it. (The shorter, yet still informative… the better)
- PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD! Check for grammatical errors as well as sentence structure and wording. Make it sound professional! They are judging your written communication skills and professionalism. If you aren’t willing to take the time to make your cover letter perfect for a job you are seeking, how much less are you going to stress professionalism in writing once you have already gotten the job?