Cover letters are usually sent attached to a CV to give a brief introduction about yourself. As the cover letter is the first thing that the employer has to make a judgement about you it is vital that you make a good first impression. Here are some tips to help you:
Write to a person
Many people address their cover letters to 'Dear Sir/Madam' or in worse cases 'To whom it may concern.'
Even if the job you are applying for is not advertised and your letter is more of a query letter still do your research to find a name to write to. Otherwise it won't get past the HR department.
Get straight to the point
On the first line state your business (i.e. who you are and what position you are applying for). Don't list all the points that you have covered in your CV just sum them up. Summarize your qualifications and skills.
What you should include in the rest of the letter
Use a formal tone, show the employer you want the job and work for the company. Don't be afraid to use business language and buzzwords but don't go over the top.
Before you finish the letter welcome the employer to contact you for further information or to arrange an appropriate time for an interview. Or better yet, say that you will ring them to follow up and then make sure you do.
You want to give a good impression so layout, font, colour and style should all be taken into consideration. Don't chose colours that are too bright for the font of paper. Font should ideally be a size 12 in Times New Roman font. The paper should be an A4 sized white colour. Make sure the page is neat.
Above all keep your cover letter short, simple and to the point. The cover letter should not exceed one page. Too long is not good. Don't repeat words over and over again. Good luck!