Equal Employment Opportunity Organization (EEOO)

What is a Cover Letter?

The importance of the job resume cover letterWhenever a resume is sent by mail, a cover letter must accompany it. The cover letter is your opportunity to make an immediate good impression of yourself, much as you would if you walked into the room for an interview nicely dressed, confident, and poised. It is a chance to set yourself apart from the other applicants -- it's your first opportunity to sell yourself.

What goes into a Cover Letter?

The basic content of a cover letter includes the same basics as any business letter, plus other specifics such as:

It sounds easy, but there's got to be some tricks ...

Not tricks, but there certainly are some tips. Here are a few basic ones and links to lots more:

Cover letters should be individualized and written for the specific organization and/or position. Do not write one cover letter and send it to everyone.

Cover letters should highlight your special qualifications and talents. Don't copy an example you find in an-ebook for instance, or online on a web-site, instead use those examples to give you some thoughts and ideas for your job resume cover letter.

It should go without saying, resume cover letters should be perfect! No more than you would walk into an interview with a run in your stockings or a gravy stain on your tie; should you send a cover letter (or your resume, for that matter) with spelling errors, typos or poor grammar. Do not count solely on your computer's spell check. Carefully proof read it and then have someone you trust proof read it.

Be clear and concise in your writing. Watch out for those clunky, "governmentese" phrases. Government doesn't use them any more and no one else should either. Avoid phrases such as:

Keep your cover letter to one-page.

Put yourself in your reader's place. What will make them sit up and take notice. Are you a problem solver? How can you contribute to their organization? What is really special about you that is going to help them?