A cover letter is a document that normally accompanies a resume. A cover letter is used as a marketing tool to highlight the individual's most significant skills and accomplishments, and prompt the reader to take a closer look at the job applicant's resume.
Cover letters are usually the first document a potential employer's staff will read. As such, it's important for the cover letter to leave the reader with a positive impression. The document must also be concisely written. The components of a cover letter include:
- Heading: provides the reader with a two to five word description of the job applicant's background or area of expertise.
- Objective Statement: tells the hiring company, or recruiter, why the applicant deserves an interview.
- Introductory Paragraph: grabs the reader's attention, and convinces them it is worthwhile to continue reading. Includes a brief overview of skills and experience, and a fact-based approach to achievements.
- Cover Letter Body: explains to the reader why the job applicant is contacting the company, emphasizing past accomplishments.
- Closing Paragraph: confirms interest in discussing job opportunities that may exist at a prospective employer's company.