The majority of information found online treats cover letters as if they were far less important than the resume itself. Unfortunately, this understates the value of a well-written document, and limits the number of resume cover letter samples available for review.
There is no doubt that well-constructed cover letters can help candidates secure job interviews. The letter is often the only way to communicate the introductory statements a job applicant wants to make to a potential employer.
At the extreme, a poorly constructed letter will result in that employer passing over a resume. On the other hand, a great cover letter will entice the reader to take a very close look at the accompanying resume, and bring the job applicant one step closer to finding a new job.
Listed below are the four basic components, or sections, of a cover letter.
More detail on this topic can be found in a dedicated article: How to Write a Cover Letter.
In this article, two examples will be used to illustrate how to construct a cover letter. Later on, this article will provide links to additional cover letter samples that can be downloaded for free.
Keep in mind it's not possible to provide specific examples that apply to all employment opportunities and situations. But the examples below should offer enough insights such that a writer will feel comfortable constructing a cover letter that is aligned with their specific career objectives.
Every word processing software package sold in the last 15 years can help format the letter properly. Don't forget to use the spell checking capability of the word processing application, and have someone proofread the cover letter as well as the resume.
It is very discouraging to see spelling errors on a cover letter. It's often thought to be a sign the individual does not pay attention to details, or is thought to be a precursor to the job applicant's quality of work.
This first example is one that might be used by a job seeker with a technical background; specifically, this letter is written for someone trying to apply for a market research job:
I have developed and applied strong analytical skills in the market research area from the sample design stage through reporting. My abilities have been proven through the achievement of strong bottom line results. I would like to take this opportunity to bring my skills, experience and achievements to your attention.
I have interest in exploring the opportunity to join XYZ Company as a member of your Market Research staff.
The following results were achieved through the application of the market research skills outlined in the attached resume:
(A rule of thumb would be to include about 4 to 6 achievements in a resume cover letter.)
I worked hard to achieve these results, and look forward to discussing how I can contribute to XYZ Company's future success.
This second example is one that a professional might use; here the letter is written for someone looking for a financial or accounting position:
I have applied skills in financial planning, analysis, and capital budgeting to achieve cost reductions, identify cost savings opportunities, and realized bottom line results for a Fortune 200 company. Exceptional results have been consistently rewarded through a series of progressive promotions.
I would like to bring to your attention my talent, skills, and achievements for developing productive and results-oriented relationships with middle and upper management, so that we can discuss joining XYZ Company as a member of your Financial Planning Team.
Results achieved include:
(Once again, the idea would be to include about 4 to 6 items in the resume cover letter)
I look forward to discussing with you how my skills and background can contribute to XYZ Company's future success.
As a follow up to this topic, a second article has been published: More Free Cover Letter Samples. In that article, readers will find links to four more cover letter examples.
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