An effective cover letter will: demonstrate your understanding of the organization; describe how you can meet their needs; provide a specific follow up step that you will take. The cover letter should not be a simple reiteration of what has already been stated in your resume and each letter needs to be customized for a particular organization and/or job.
Here is the basic formula for a cover letter:
- Standard business letter address format
- Salutation to a real person, not "To whom it may concern"
- First paragraph: Why you are interested in the position and what company needs can you fill
- Second paragraph: Briefly state two or three top skills and follow with the benefits these features can provide the company
- Third paragraph: Outline a specific action you will take to follow up the letter
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