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A Successful Cover Letter Format and Layout Guide.

Updated on October 3, 2012
An impressive cover letter is a key to success.
An impressive cover letter is a key to success.

When applying for a job, a striking cover letter and an impressive resume are the best allies we have . An appealing cover letter is the first step to success as it determines whether the hiring manager, the employer or the person in charge will be intrigued to read the resume and show interest in you. There are some tips and guidelines for a better getting hired chance.

GENERAL INFORMATION

A cover letter must be attached prior to your resume and be specifically relevant with the job position you wish to apply for, including your relevant skills and experience with the job opening. Avoid mass production of identical cover letters as they will probably diminish your cover letter's value and chance to get hired. Each letter should be sent for a specific job opening.

Depending on why you want to write a cover letter, there are numerous types of cover letters. So ,first of all you have to determine your needs: Do you want to apply for more than one job? Request a meeting? Apply for job openings that haven't been advertised? Want to find a better job while working somewhere else? Change field of expertise?

The moment you can point your finger at your specific need, its when you can decide which type of cover letter best suits you.

MAIN TYPES OF COVER LETTERS

  • Application Letter
  • Referral Letter
  • Letter of Interest or Prospecting Letter
  • Networking Letter

An application letter is recommended f you want to apply for a specific job offering while in a referral letter you must refer to the person that introduced you the job opening. For a company's possible job opening it is advisable to use a Letter of Interest type when a Networking Letter will help you get assistance and advise in job searching.

This is a general layaout of a cover letter, although there are other variations too.
This is a general layaout of a cover letter, although there are other variations too.

COVER LETTER FORMAT

The kind of information you include and the way you present your cover letter is significant. If it is readable, well formatted and without mistakes then it has good potentials an employer will notice it.

In this section we will analyze :

  1. Where and what of your contact information should be included.
  2. Where to add the date and the employer's contact information.
  3. How to begin your letter and what to write in each paragraph of your letter.
  4. How to close your letter
  5. Signature
  6. The font type and size which is better to use.


1. YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

To begin with, your letter has to include your contact information ,meaning, your :

  • name
  • address
  • phone (home or cell)
  • emai


2. DATE AND EMLOYER'S CONTACT INFORMATION

Leave a space when finishing your contact information and add the date. If you have the employer's contact information, leave a space after the date and add the same way you did yours.


3. HOW TO BEGIN AND WHAT TO WRITE IN EACH PARAGRAPH.

Adress/Greet with the name of the employer if you know it, using " Mr/Mrs/Ms" . If you don't know it , begin with something like :" Dear Hiring Manager".

There are normally 3 (and more) paragraphs in a cover letter. Each paragraph contains different information:

a) In the first paragraph,

state where you found the job opening and what exacly you are applying for. At this point, don't forget to express your enthusiasm and the possible match between your credentials and the opening job's requirements. It would be advisable to have done a bit of research on the potential company or the employer and use your findings (perhaps a big company success over a closing deal, or the employer's recent accomplishmets) to "strengthen" your enthusiasm.

b) The next paragraph(s),

is where you present your skills and generally what YOU have to offer. Use the qualifications you have that are relevant to the job requirements. It is a good interpretation of your resume but avoid repetition.

c) The last paragraph ,

includes ways you plan to follow up. Normally, we write how an employer or a hiring manager can reach us for further details or an interview, like our cell number or email address. Don't forget to thank the employer for his/her time and consideration of you as a potential new employee.

4. COMPLIMENTARY CLOSING

Leave a space after you finish with your paragraphs. Use a phrase like "Sincerely", "Respectfully yours".

5. SIGNATURE
Leave space after your closing and put your handwritten signature if you are going to mail the letter and not sent via email.


6. FONT TYPE AND SIZE

It is better to use a simple, easy readable, basic font like Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana and usually a size 12.

Remember :

  • Your font type and size must match with the ones you used in your resume.
  • Keep space between paragraphs and after contact info, date, greeting, closing, signature.
  • Always proof your letter before sending.
  • You can highlight the most significant parts of your letter but be careful not to overdo it.
  • Font size can vary between 10-12 and your name can be slightly bigger and highlighted.
  • Prefferably use black font colour.

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