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What should you put in your cover letter?

As a Human Resource professional, I am often asked, “What should I include in my cover letter?”

A cover letter should first and foremost address the needs of the employer. How can your experience and education benefit the organization? What makes you stand out from the hundreds of other resumes that the employer receives on a day-to-day basis?

People often make the mistake of summarizing their resume on their cover letter and never really tell the company what they can do for them or how they can assist in the needs of their organization.

Every cover letter should be unique to the job ad and should never be reused. Every cover letter has its purpose, which brings me to my point:

How do you design and word your Cover Letter so that it stands out to an employer?

A cover letter should be divided into three parts.

  • Starting the first part with what I like to call “the intro” – this should be simple and engaging. You are advising the employer of what position you are applying for and how you are a suitable match for the position.
  • The second part is what I call “the meat” – this is where things get more complicated. You need to review the job ad and scan it for every qualification and skill point that should be included into this part. You can do this based on your previous experience /skills or newly gained knowledge. If you don’t have the experience that the employer requires, you want to let the employer know that you can learn it and apply them fairly quickly. The important thing is not to leave out a point. You must address everything the job ad is requesting.
  • The third and final part is what I call “the invitation” – this is where you tell the employer that you are enclosing your resume for review and that you are inviting them to meet with you in person to discuss, in detail, how you can both develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

Metro College also offers excellent Job Search Support Service which focus on drafting a great cover letter, resume, and selecting your references. Mock interview sessions are also available to help prepare you for your future job interviews!