Writing a Good Cover Letter
By: Anne Cunningham, AgCareers.com

This next article looks at cover letters. Having a good cover letter is essential for everybody applying for jobs, regardless whether you are a graduate or a seasoned candidate. The cover letter enables you to express your passion, market yourself to an employer and expand on the skills and abilities described in your resume.

A well written cover letter that commands attention can be the defining feature that sets you apart from other applicants. A cover letter is the perfect opportunity to explain to an employer why he/she should consider you for a role. It is important to remember that your cover letter is effectively a marketing tool for yourself. The purpose of writing a cover letter is to expand on the information you have given in your resume. It is also your chance to really convey passion, dedication and desire. It is often the first impression an employer receives of you and effective cover letters will give employers a more in depth view of you, you abilities and how you may benefit the company.

Here are some tips for writing an effective cover letter
  • Donít use a template; this makes your cover letter too generic. You may use examples to get ideas but your cover letter is personal and should reflect you.
  • Donít overly concentrate on yourself, make sure you convey a passion for the industry, your role and the company you are applying to
  • Try and find out the name of the person you are writing to instead of addressing the letter Ďsirí Ďmadamí or Ďhiring managerí.
  • Try and keep your cover letter and resume in the same font and format as this enables them to flow together.
  • Donít forget to sign your name at the bottom and make sure you include clear contact details.
  • Donít generalize, try and be specific.
  • Keep the letter brief, it should be about 3-4 paragraphs long and definitely under a page, any longer and an employer may be inclined to disregard it.
Here are some tips for structuring your cover letter
  • Paragraph 1 should state why you are writing, what the job you are applying for is. It should be properly addressed and dated
  • Paragraph 2 should state why you are interested in the position and/or the company. It should also state how you believe your qualifications fit with the requirements of the role and how your past experience will benefit you in the role. This paragraph is where you are able to portray your passion for the industry, your desire to work for the company and the values and attributes you bring with you.
  • Paragraph 3 should repeat that you are hoping to be considered for the job, thank the employer for their time and be signed off adequately
  • Make sure you run a spell check, use proper grammar and punctuation and proof read the letter to ensure that it flows.

A good cover letter can set you apart in a wide candidate pool. It can help sell yourself as an ideal candidate to your potential employer. Many people overlook the cover letter option; however, it can be an essential tool in securing an interview.


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