Covering the Cover Letter

February 26, 2014

Job Search

Of all the things you will do when looking for a job, writing the Cover Letter should be one of the easiest. Even so, it ends up being very stressful for many people. I’ve been writing cover letters since the late 70’s and as a career coach, I know these tips will help you reduce the stress.
It’s true that many employers and resume reviewers do not read the Cover Letter.  If they do look at it, they may simply scan it rather than read it.  However, there is a smaller percentage of people who will actually take the time to read your cover letter.  If they read it, they are doing so to find out more about you and check for grammar and spelling errors.

Cover Letter Basics
The Cover Letter contains parts and should be no more than four paragraphs in length.
  1. The first section contains the title of the job you are interested in and a brief statement about why you are applying. You could also mention in this paragraph something which demonstrates that you have researched the company, or you have done your homework.

  2. The second section contains highlights of your background as it pertains to the requirements of the position, how you are a good fit for the position.  This can be in the form of bulleted accomplishment statements, though watch the length. More than 4 and it can get too long.

  3. The third paragraph, if you choose to include it, can contain more information about you and why you are interested in the company, the industry and the position.  Companies like to hear why you are interested in them.

  4. Finally, your closing paragraph should state your availability; include the number to reach you and a statement that leaves the door open for further contact.  Something like, “I will call in a week to make sure you have received my resume and see if you have any questions about my background”.

Questions to Ask Yourself

What experiences have you had with writing Cover Letters?  If you are an employer, do you read them?  If so, what helps them stand out?

Remember; always include a Cover Letter with your resume. You won’t necessarily know if it will be read or not.  Why lose out on the opportunity to make your case?


Aly AnlikerAly Anliker, Ed.M

Aly is a creative organizational and career consultant with over fifteen years of experience in Training Management, Executive Coaching and Instructional Design. She has a background in Human Resources and Marketing and has worked in a variety of industries including telecommunications, high technology, manufacturing and non-profit.


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