Like a resume, a cover letter should be custom-tailored for a specific job and should indicate why the applicant is interested in the position, what he can bring to the company, and the related skills and qualities he possesses. Cover letters should complement resumes, but they should not repeat information listed on the resumes.
There are different types of cover letters, such as an application letter replying to a known position opening, a networking letter asking for help and information during a job search, and a prospecting letter written for information about positions that may be available currently or in the future.
Cover letters should contain the applicant's and the employer's contact information, a salutation, a body and a closure. The applicant's contact information should include a name, a physical address, an email address and a phone number. If the cover letter is written as an email, all of the applicant's contact information should be listed at the bottom with his signature. If possible, the letter should directly address a hiring manager or another specific contact person. The body of the cover letter includes why the applicant is writing the letter, what he specifically has to offer the company and how he plans to follow up with the letter, such as with a phone call or email.