Nothing tells a potential employer that you want a job, and that you are the most qualified for a job, better than a well-written cover letter.
While a resume is the proper place to provide a comprehensive list of your background, employment history and credentials, a cover letter is more the place where you can sell yourself in a brief story.
Your cover letter may be your first and only chance to make a personal appeal to a potential employer, telling them why they should look at your resume, and hire you over the dozens, or potentially hundreds of other individuals that may be applying for the same position.
Cover Letter Format
First, pick a font that is easy-to-read. Your cover letter, like your resume, should not include a fancy font.
Sometimes, a specific type of format is necessary. This may be the case if you are creating a cover letter for a federal agency.
Your cover letter should always begin with your contact information. Include your name, email address, phone number and if you want contact address so an employer can send you a letter in the event you are interviewed for a position. Many applications these days allow you to check if you prefer to be contacted by phone, email or via snail mail. This is not always the case however, so it is a good idea for you to provide the employer with multiple methods of getting in touch with you.
You should also include the date.
Next, you should include the employer contact information, which will include the name of the individual you are contacting, their title, the company name and address.
The next sections of your cover letter will include a greeting, followed by the body of your cover letter. The body should include two to three paragraphs.
Greeting of Your Cover Letter
When creating the greeting of your cover letter, always if possible, get the name of someone to write to. While it is ok to write your cover letter to a neutral party, your cover letter will garner a lot more attention if you write it to a specific person. If you are not sure who to address your cover letter to, try calling the reception desk or someone in Human Resources to find out who the hiring manager is for the job that you plan to apply for.
You can also look for a staff directory online. Most companies post the heads of departments for their company online. Many jobs list the contact person for jobs online also. Try every method possible to locate this information before writing a generic cover letter. This will benefit you tremendously when applying for jobs.
Body of Your Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter is one of the most important parts of your cover letter. In this section, you should include information about why you are applying for the position, and where you found the job listing. If you can, include the name of a personal reference or someone in the company that referred you to the position.
Inform the employer of any skills, qualifications or abilities that make you particularly suited to the position you are applying for.
The middle paragraphs may include any special achievements that you have made that are relative to the job that you are applying for. Do not repeat word-for-word information that you included on your resume. Your cover letter should highlight important skills that you plan to bring to the table, and benefits you have to offer your potential employer.
You also want to thank the employer for taking time to consider you as an employee, and for reading your cover letter and resume. Let the employer know what you plan to do to follow up with them.
In closing your cover letter, sign with an appropriate greeting, as in: “Best Regards,” “Respectfully Yours,” or something similar to this. You will want to sign your cover letter if you are mailing a hard copy of your cover letter and resume to the employer.
You should also type a copy of your signature.
Cover Letter Example
Here is a copy of a cover letter that you can modify to suit your specific needs. Remember that you should personalize all of your cover letters, making them specific to each job that you apply for. Never send out a generic cover letter for any position that you apply for. The more specific you make your cover letter then the better your odds of landing a job with the companies you apply with.
1234 Manhattan Ave.
New York, New York 10003
July 8, 2013
Mr. Hiring Manager
Director Human Resources
4567 Manhattan Drive
New York, New York 10005
Dear Mr. Manager:
I am pleased to apply for the Admitting position advertised in the Manhattan Post, and am enclosing a copy of my resume for your review. I am an excellent candidate for this position given my extensive experience working with DBH Hospital, and numerous clinics including Advanced Family Practice and Johnston Therapy Centers as a scheduling coordinator. I believe my skills, talents and abilities are an ideal match for your job opening. I am looking forward to an opportunity to partner with your team.
Your job posting indicates that you are looking for someone that has 2+ years’ experience solving customer service problems, dealing with scheduling, pre-authorization and working with EMR software. In my position with Johnston Therapy Centers, I worked with Vision EMR software, scheduling patients and setting physician schedules on a daily basis for 3 years.
In my position with DBH Hospital and Advanced Family Practice, I conducted pre-authorizations for many different services including patient testing, medical procedures, appointments and other health concerns for 2 years. I was also responsible for providing customer service on the telephone and in person, handling many front office and some back office procedures.
I have experience managing admitting and patient registration, as well as handling complex problems and providing exceptional customer service. I am very detail oriented and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Thank you for taking time to review my resume and credentials. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how my skills, background and qualifications can help you meet your mission and goals. I look forward to speaking with you further about this position!
Your Name Typed