When applying for jobs and internships, creating a great cover letter is essential for landing an interview. Too often, applicants try to create a basic template cover letter that they send out to all recruiters, but this sort of document usually won’t impress anyone. Each cover letter an applicant writes needs to be tailored directly to that position. While the document should certainly be free of spelling and grammatical errors, it also needs to speak to an applicant’s interest in the job and how he or she will benefit the company in question.
A cover letter does not just rehash information included in the resume. Applicants should think of the cover letter as a chance to relate their experience directly to the job they’re seeking. Before writing the cover letter, applicants should consider the skills criteria in the job listing and ensure that they explain how their work history has allowed them to master these skills. As much as possible, the cover letter should be written specifically for the requirements of the job in question.
A typical cover letter will begin with a statement explaining that the applicant is contacting the company because of their interest in a specific position. Next, the letter should move into why the applicant wants the job in question, not just a job in general. People may want to mention what they appreciate about the company and demonstrate some knowledge of its history and accomplishments. A quick Internet search can reveal a great deal about where the company came from and where it’s going. After this point, applicants can discuss how their work histories uniquely qualify them for the job.
Whenever possible, applicants should personalize the cover letter by addressing it directly to the person who will read it, rather than using a more generic salutation such as “To Whom it May Concern.” In general, applicants can find this information in the job posting itself or on the company’s website. If not, applicants can always call the company and ask a human resources representative who the appropriate addressee would be.