Cover Letters

Cover letters are a concise way to communicate your value to a company. They demonstrate your anticipation of the company’s needs and what you can bring to the table, and are an invitation to read more details regarding your background and experience. Like your resume, your cover letter needs to be focused on your accomplishments and results. The letter should have three primary elements to it:

  • identify the position you are applying for and where you found the job listing;
  • explain how your experience and skill sets match this position;
  • a closing statement that expresses your desire to be employed by this specific company.

The cover letter can be the difference between making or missing the cut for an interview. Here are elements of an effective cover letter:

  • Address the letter to a specific person, clearly indicate the job you are seeking, and focus on the specific needs of the company. How do you determine the individual to whom you should send your cover letter if the company doesn’t list the name of the hiring manager? Try the following:
    • Search LinkedIn and Facebook to determine who might be responsible for hiring this position.
    • Google the company’s name, the position title and "jobs", "employment", "human resources", or "careers" to see if have listed a hiring contact for this type of opening in the past.
    • Call the organization and ask the receptionist.
    • Contact a current or former employee who can tell you the name of the individual in charge of hiring at your level.
  • Do not repeat the contents of your resume on your cover letter.
  • Choose a professional business format that includes a minimum of three paragraphs (the introduction, body, and conclusion).
  • Make sure to proofread the letter and have at least one other person read the letter for errors and impressions.
Application Tracking System

Don’t take our word for it, hear from the experts at Idaho Next Steps Coaching, LLC by watching the recorded webinar they hosted for ASNT. You’ll learn about Application Tracking Systems (ATS), how to understand what works and doesn’t work for your cover letter, how to tell your professional story in two pages or less, and that cover letters are still a thing!

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