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Designing a Cover Letter

A cover letter is your first chance to make a lasting impression with a hiring manager. For that reason, it must be professional. Here are some things to keep in mind as you determine your letter’s design.

Jump to: Be Consistent with Headings | Use the Hiring Manager’s Name | Be Specific | Use Examples | Choose the Appropriate Closing | Make the Most of "Snail Mail" |

Be Consistent with Headings

When formatting your cover letter, always use the same heading that you have used in your resume. This makes for a consistent, well-planned presentation that’s designed to impress.

Use the Hiring Manager’s Name

This personalizes the document and shows attention to detail. If you do not know the hiring manager’s name, do some online or telephone research before sending it “blind.”

Be Specific

In your opening paragraph, include what job you’re interested in and a specific reason why you are qualified for this position.

Use Examples

Include in the body of your letter any specific experience, skills, or accomplishments that mesh with the requirements of the new job. This data should be bulleted, rather than presented in a solid block of text. The human eye is drawn to bulleted areas, and they summarize your qualifications in an easy-to-read format.

Here’s an example:

“…As my enclosed resume indicates, my background includes more than two decades of service at U.S. Flight with significant experience in:

  • Aircraft accident investigation as a member of the U.S. Flight disaster team.
  • Security checkpoints, where I handled countless calls for assistance.
  • Training the Ground Security team to protect and promote public safety.

In addition to the above skills, I can also offer your firm:

  • More than 30 years of experience in the airline industry.
  • Expertise in dealing with government agencies, including the FAA where I facilitated communications to reduce company fines.
  • Reduced absenteeism and occupational injuries — standards I maintained at U.S. Flight, where I achieved the best employee safety record of all U.S. Flight cities.”

Choose the Appropriate Closing

If the letter is being addressed to a specific hiring manager, close your letter proactively by indicating that you will be contacting their office within the next week to see if you might set up a time to meet.

Make the Most of "Snail Mail"

Nowadays, most resumes and cover letters are sent as attachments via e-mail. However, if you have reason to send your cover letter and resume by "snail mail,” the documents should be printed on good bond paper (20 lbs.) with a watermark. Choose a color that evokes professionalism; the best choices are white or cream, though a light gray can also be considered.

Source: ResumeEdge

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