Resume Cover Letters
Capture the Employer's Attention.

Resume cover letters act as your first opportunity to capture the employer's attention.

The hiring manager is looking for someone who can effectively perform the job as described in the job advertisement.

Send or post a cover letter with your resume.

Think of a resume cover letter as the answer to a job advertisement. Use this opportunity to...

keyboard notebook

  • Set yourself apart from the competition by telling the employer that you are the most qualified candidate for the job.
  • Highlight your skills and experience that relate to the target job.
  • Emphasize what you can contribute to the organization.

Important note: Do not use the same letter for every job.

Customize each cover letter to match each individual job. This shows the employer that you did your research, and you are well informed about the position.

As a recruiter, I can tell the difference between an effectively written letter and generic one. Please take the time to customize your letter. This extra time will pay off during your job search.

I understand… Writing a resume cover letter can be a challenging task. I was in your shoes once upon a time!

Just take it one step at a time and you will see that the task is not as difficult as it may seem.

Just follow these two steps.
green check Review cover letter format to gain an understanding of what to write.

green check Review sample cover letters for examples. Use them as guides as you write your own cover letter.

I recommend that you write your resume first. Then use your resume as a guide when writing a cover letter, but don't just repeat the information already in your resume.

Complement the resume, but refrain from duplicating it.

What is the Purpose of a Resume Cover Letter?

The cover letter's purpose is to…

  • Introduce yourself as a prospective employee.
  • Express your intent to apply for a specific job.
  • Highlight skills and experience that relate to the qualifications in the job description.
  • Emphasize your strengths that relate to the position.
  • Tell the employer how you can apply your skills on the job.
  • Refer the reader to your resume.
  • Ask for a job interview.

Impress the employer!

Create a good first impression.

Use a professional, confident tone.

Make every word count.

Grab the reader's attention from the very first sentence.

Clearly communicate your purpose.

Convince the reader to take action.

Showcase your writing and communication skills by using proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Research the company and show that you have an understanding of the company and of the job. To show that you are knowledgeable, mention something you learned, such as the company's...

  • Mission statement
  • Future goals
  • Years in existence
  • Major accomplishments

Before Writing, Ask Yourself…

  • What is my purpose for writing?
  • What 3-5 qualities do I have that relate to the job.
  • What does the employer need?
  • Do my skills and experience match the job description?
  • What makes me want to work for a particular organization.

When Writing Your Resume Cover Letter…

  • Have a clear purpose for writing the letter.
  • Plan and organize each section.
  • Put your most important ideas first.
  • Keep your paragraphs short and your sentences simple.
  • The letter should be brief, concise, and not too lengthy.
  • Tell employer how you can use your skills on the job.

Keep the job description within reach, and review it frequently to make sure your letter matches the job description.

How to Write a Cover Letter

Each paragraph has its own purpose.

Click here for more details about how to format each paragraph.

Opening Paragraph

  • Tells why you are writing states your interest in the job or the organization.

Middle Paragraph(s)

  • Highlights your specific skills and experience that relate to the target job. Tell the employer how you will use those skills on the job. Give examples (e.g., leadership skills, education, customer service skills, etc.).

Final Paragraph

  • Identifies action for follow-up and thank the employer for considering you for the job.

Highlight transferable skills throughout the resume cover letter to show how your skills can transfer from past experience to the target job.

Note: If your resume shows gaps in employment dates and you feel the need to explain, do so in one sentence. Do not go into too much detail. You have more important topics to write about. Legitimate gaps that you can mention include:

  • Layoff from a previous position
  • Left to further your education
  • Took time off to care for family

Don't just say, "I was unemployed." Offer an explanation. For example, you can use a sentence similar to these:

"After a one-year break from the workforce to care for a new baby, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Sales Manager position that is advertised on your website."

"Although I have been away from the workforce for the past two years while I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Business Management, I am now looking for the right opportunity to continue my career."

Explaining employment gaps in your cover letter is a proactive approach to addressing questions that may arise if an employer notices the gaps.

More cover letter info:

Cover Letter Format

Sample Cover Letters

Return from Resume Cover Letters to Simple Resume Writing Instructions Home

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