Cover Letter

Definition

A cover letter is a document that normally accompanies a resume.  A cover letter is used as a marketing tool to highlight the individual's most significant skills and accomplishments, and prompt the reader to take a closer look at the job applicant's resume.

Explanation

Cover letters are usually the first document a potential employer's staff will read.  As such, it's important for the cover letter to leave the reader with a positive impression.  The document must also be concisely written.  The components of a cover letter include:

  • Heading:  provides the reader with a two to five word description of the job applicant's background or area of expertise.
  • Objective Statement:  tells the hiring company, or recruiter, why the applicant deserves an interview.
  • Introductory Paragraph:  grabs the reader's attention, and convinces them it is worthwhile to continue reading.  Includes a brief overview of skills and experience, and a fact-based approach to achievements.
  • Cover Letter Body:  explains to the reader why the job applicant is contacting the company, emphasizing past accomplishments.
  • Closing Paragraph:  confirms interest in discussing job opportunities that may exist at a prospective employer's company.

Related Terms

heading, objective statement, introductory paragraph, cover letter body, closing paragraphcharacter reference, KSA, letter of inquiry