The purpose of the cover letter and resume package is to motivate the employer to take action and invite you for an interview. When delivered together, the two documents should work together to get you the interview. A cover letter should:
What is the secret to an excellent cover letter? To think the way the employer thinks. Target your cover letter to a specific person at a specific company. A new and unique cover letter should be written for each job application.
To think like an employer, you need to start with what they are telling you in the job description. The words the employer uses in the job description should end up in your cover letter as you describe your qualifications. You can use the exact words they use as well as industry keywords and jargon. Identify and highlight 3-5 skills in your cover letter and show the employer how you are an exact match for their needs.
Generally speaking, your letter should be just a few paragraphs in length and should fit on one page. Avoid:
Say: "I provided technical assistance" instead of "I was a computer lab assistant"
Say: "Research activities including observation and data analysis were among the contributions I made while..." instead of "I worked as a research assistant"
Review a good cover letter template and example cover letters to help you get started. Or, our trained staff can help you with cover letters at the Career Center office. Another good resource can tell you more about email cover letters http://www.quintcareers.com/email_cover_letters.html
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