How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

Philosophy: Employers will not spend more than ten seconds reading a cover letter. You have to show them that you can get to the point, that you are focused, can prioritize, understand business, know what they are looking for and that you are the person for the job. Here’s how you do it:
• If at all possible personalize the letter. If you cannot get the name of the recipient, “Dear Hiring Manager” will suffice. NEVER use “To Whom It May Concern.” That makes it appear to be a form letter.
• In the first paragraph let them know the job you are applying for, when you heard about it and where you saw it advertised. That way they know you can get to the point, that you do not procrastinate, and that you understand that it is important for them to know where they are getting the best bang for their advertising dollars.
• In the second paragraph give them an example of the one thing that you have done in your career that speaks to the job for which you are applying and will convince them to look at your resume. That’s the purpose of the cover letter, to get them to look at the resume. (See my post, “How to Write an Effective Resume.”)
• In the third paragraph, if they ask in the ad, tell them what your salary requirements are. Include “not including benefits” so they know you are flexible.
• In the fourth paragraph, make reference to your resume.
• End politely and be certain your full name, address and contact information appear at the top.
Dear Ms. Smith,
I wish to apply for the position of warehouse manager that I saw advertised in today’s Post.
With my three years experience in the Army overseeing a warehouse stocking thousands of unique items, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, I am certain that I will not only be able to fulfill the requirements of the position but to surpass them.
My salary requirements are $50,000, not including benefits.
Attached please find a copy of my resume for your review.
Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Your Name
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