A resume cover letter is an opportunity to sale yourself and the service you provide to a prospective employer. All too often, individuals submit resumes without a cover letter of any kind. In most cases, this is a mistake. A well-formed, thoughtful, honest resume cover letter can make the difference between the next phase in gainful employment, and never hearing from the prospect again.

Look at a cover letter as a sales proposal. While there are some basic steps to preparing the proposal, the content and format are equally important. Aside from the resume itself, your sales proposal, or cover letter, is the only, tangible, information an employer has to base an opinion on, and ultimately decide if a personal interview is worthwhile.

Things You Will Need

Job history
List of career accomplishments
List of strenghts
Knowledge of the employers business and needs

Step 1

Format and write the header for your cover letter. The header should be consistent with the head of your resume and include the following as a minimum.

Your complete name in bold type

Mailing address

Working contact number

An active email address

While the exact format is not important, the content contained within it is.

Step 2

Write an objective statement tailored to the job and employer you are targeting. A clear and concise objective conveys your confidence and direction to a hiring manager. The objective statement need only be one or two sentences in length, but should be powerful.

An example of a powerful, targeted objective statement would look something like this: "Seeking a position as an administrative assistant with company name inc. to provide my clerical, organizational, and administrative skills to management".

If your objective statement can be used word for word with every company you send a resume to, it is not a targeted statement and will not make a powerful impact with the hiring manager.

Step 3

Write a short introduction to a list of specific strengths and accomplishments. A lead to the skills you bring to a job, and specific examples of those skills. A lead, or introduction, to a list of strengths would look something like this:

"An energetic and highly motivated carpenter with over 7-years experience in both residential and industrial construction projects."

No one want to read a book when looking through resumes and cover letters, and they don't have to. Keep your sentences as short as possible while still packing them full of energy and honesty.

Step 4

Prepare a list of accomplishments, either past or current, related to your key strengths and skills. A bulleted list of between 4 and 7 accomplishments is plenty. Place the most significant, or important, at the top of the list. The most significant items should be those most important, or best related, to the job you are seeking, and not necessarily those that are most significant to you.

It's not unusual for a hiring manager to only read the first two or three items on the list, so keep this in mind while determining the more important items to place at the top. This in no way means you can relax on the last few items. Write each as it is the one that will land you the interview.

Here's an example: "Responsible for the planning, development, and execution of a cost-effective inventory management system resulting in an annual savings of over $200,000 in the first year".

Close your cover letter with a personal statement of thanks for considering your resume.

The cover letter should be no more than a single page while leaving ample white space between sections. The best font for both your resume and cover letter is 12 point Ariel or Times New Roman. Others will also work, but these are best.

Tips & Warnings

Never write your cover letter and submit it in the same day. Allow it to sit for a day and proof read it for grammar and content.

Ask a friend or relative to read and critique both your resume and cover letter.