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Writing Cover Letters That Win Job Interviews

Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
Co-Author, “Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Transitions”
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Today's cover letters are a vital part of the “package” each job seeker must present to a prospective employer. Well-constructed cover letters must simultaneously complement your resume, address an employer's job requirements, communicate your strengths, and sell you as the ideal candidate. Here are four critical concepts to get you started.

Effective Cover Letters Contain 10 Key Components:

(1) Your contact information; (2) Date; (3) Inside address; (4) Reference line; (5) Salutation; (6) Opening Paragraph; (7) Content/main body; (8) Closing paragraph/call to action; (9) Closing; (10) Enclosure line.

Cover Letter Writing Is Sales:

Just as with resumes, cover letter writing is sales. Envision yourself as a unique commodity: just the right solution to a problem for employers who need the features and benefits you have to offer. When you write your letters, demonstrate how your qualifications relate to each firm's specific needs.

Cover Letter Writing Is All About Strategy:

Cover letter strategy is about understanding who your audience is and what approach will be most appealing to them. The content of each letter will change based on what you know about each company - who they are, what they need, and how your skills will complement that organization.

Targeted Letters Work Best:

The majority of letters you write will be targeted toward a specific job opening with a particular company. Carefully examine each job posting to identify the specific requirements of the position; then, research the company's mission, values, culture, and challenges. This will help you better understand the employer and how you can deliver value. In today's Internet-based world, finding that information is easy! Once you've identified the key requirements for the job, you can write bullet points, or short paragraphs, that showcase your relevant qualifications.

These are but four of the key strategies that professional resume writers use to craft cover letters that open doors and generate job interviews.