What Goes on a Cover Letter?


Quick Answer

A typical cover letter includes contact information, a greeting, an introductory paragraph, body content with compelling information about the applicant and a closing. The purpose of including all of these elements is to persuade the hiring manager that a candidate is worth interviewing and to offer contact information.

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Full Answer

The header of the letter is the first presentation of the applicant's contact information. It normally includes a name, address, phone number and e-mail address. The greeting should target the actual hiring manager or committee leader rather than "To Whom It May Concern."

The introductory paragraph indicates how the applicant heard about the opening and often includes a key selling point as to the applicant's value to the position. Someone who has been referred by an internal person should include mention of this referral in the introduction.

The body lays out the candidate's skills and experiences relative to the duties of the position. This main body is an opportunity to present a case for an interview by expanding beyond items noted on the resume.

The closing paragraph thanks the hiring manager and an provides an indication of the next step. While some applicants simply indicate that they look forward to future discussions about the job, others indicate an intention to follow up with a phone call within a few days. The closing should also include the best callback number.

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