From Alison Doyle,
Your Guide to Job Searching.
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Writing Effective Cover Letters
Writing a cover
letter often seems like a particularly daunting task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert
at writing letters to send with your resume.
A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send
out. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored, so, it makes
good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective cover letters.
A cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume.
Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch. A cover letter is often your earliest
written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression.
There are three general types of cover letters:
The application letter which responds
to a known job opening (review sample)
The prospecting letter which inquires
about possible positions (review sample)
The networking letter which requests
information and assistance in your job search (review sample)
Your cover letter should be designed specifically for each
purpose outlined above as well as for each position you seek. Do not design a form letter and send it to every potential employer
(you know what you do with junk mail!).
Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest
in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences (remember, relevance is determined by the
employer's self-interest). They should express a high level of interest and knowledge about the position.