Make An Impact With Your Resume Cover Letter

Learn the blueprint to write a powerful resume cover letter that delivers maximum impact in just four paragraphs. Whether you're changing careers or just moving on your letter must create demand for your resume or CV.

Writing a job application letter is not difficult. You need time and focused thought and then follow the outlines and links on this page.

On this page you'll find:

Basic Layout For A Cover Letter

All cover letters follow the layout of a business letter and should contain language that's formal and business-like. Essentially this means your cover letter should have:

  • Your address and contact details at the top of the page;
  • the date;
  • the name and address of the person you're writing to;
  • a greeting;
  • a reference: "Application for post of Marketing Manager", for example. This is optional.
  • the body of the letter consisting of four paragraphs. Each paragraph should be no longer than two or three sentences;
  • signing off including your signature and your name printed below your signature.

If you are unsure about doing this I recommend you ask a professional resume and cover letter writer to help you draft a letter that will help you secure an interview.

While it is important to get the layout correct it is the body of the resume cover letter that demands the most attention.

The body of your letter is made up of four paragraphs and each of these paragraphs has a specific objective.

On the one hand this makes it easy to write cover letters, but on the other hand you must pay close attention to what you say and how you say it.

You don't have a lot of word space to use to sell yourself. The space you do have must be put to maximum use. 

Four Focused Paragraphs

Discover more detail about writing a four paragraph resume cover letter and how being more assertive can give you the edge.

  1. Opening Paragraph
    The opening paragraph of a resume cover letter is generally used to identify yourself, the position you are applying for, and how you found out about the vacancy. It could read something like this:I am extremely interested to apply for the position of Marketing Manager as advertised in the Daily Trumpet on 25 June 2009.But...this is the kind of sentence that most other applicants will write. If you're interested I'd like to tell you why I think it's boring, and how you can change it to really be noticed.
  2. Paragraph 2
    In the second paragraph you can give details of your academic and/or professional qualifications, as well as personal qualities that make you an ideal candidate.
  3. Paragraph 3
    Use the third paragraph to demonstrate your knowledge of the company, what their needs are and how you are the solution to these needs.

  4. Closing Paragraph
    Traditionally the closing paragraph of a resume cover letter is used to thank the reader for considering you, tell them your resume is attached, that you're available for an interview,that you're interested in the position, and end.

    Find out how to make your closing paragraph really work to get you noticed.

Ending Your Resume Cover Letter

The way you end your letter is also really important. Not because of the ending itself, but because of what it says about how interested you are in the company and the position.

It's standard practice to end your letter with 'Yours faithfully' if you do not know who you're writing to, and 'Yours sincerely' if you do know the name of the person you're writing to.

Get into the practice of always ending your resume cover letter with 'Yours sincerely'. This is because you should always address your cover letters to someone specific, preferably the person who is doing the hiring or who will be reading your application.

How do you know their name? Simple really, you contact the company and ask.

Avoid addressing your letter 'Dear Sir' or 'To Whom it may concern'. It's too vague, might be considered sexist, and shows you're not interested enough in the position or the company to find out the name of the person dealing with the appointment.

Instead, discover the name of the person who is doing the hiring. It's a great reason to make contact with the company before you send your application. Give them a call, make sure to tell them who you are, and ask for the name of the person that's dealing with the appointment.

Ask for the correct spelling. Then address your letter to that person. 'Dear Mr Michaels' or 'Dear Ms Hosking' is more powerful than 'To Whom it may concern', and shows that you are concerned enough to get the information.

Okay, enough about layout. Here are some essential tips that will get your resume cover letter noticed.

Changing Careers?

A career change cover letter follows the same style and principles as the standard resume cover letter.

Ideally you should use your career change cover letter to emphasise your skills and demonstrate that you have thought about how these will positively benefit the company.

So emphasise your abilities, qualities and achievements up front. Immediately highlight the skills and education that prove you will be successful for your new employer.

Cover Letters meet the Internet

Using email to send your resume and cover letter to a potential employer complicates things for some people when there really is no need for this.

Think of email and the Internet as a delivery vehicle, in the same way that the postal service and an envelope deliver your snail mail.

Your resume and cover letter do not change just because you're sending them using email.

Your resume cover letter should remain exactly the same as if you were sending it by traditional mail services or delivering it by hand. An email is the envelope you use to deliver your application to the employer.

If you plan to send your application as an attachment check that the company accepts attachments first. Some don't. It would be terrible if your application was not received because you didn't think to check.

Take advantage of more essential tips like these before you email your application.

Your resume cover letter is an important marketing tool and a key element leading to job offers.

You have about 30 seconds to impress the reader enough to view your resume, and then be intrigued enough to want to know more and invite you to an interview.

So be sure to make every word count.

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