By Dale Isip

In a job search, a professional introduction to a new company may require a cover letter. Cover letters can help you express your interest in a position, detail your skills, and distinguish your approach to work.

Cover letters generally follow similar formats. They can, however, be adjusted depending on the situation. The following are some tips on how to write personalized, professional, and compelling cover letters — for almost any position.

Purpose and Format            

Cover letters are your chance to show potential employers your skills and experiences. They are also a way to share your knowledge and interest in a company. If you write a cover letter, your approach should be one of a helpful nature – how your professional skills can uniquely help an organization.

To this end, you will want to standardize the “look and feel” of your cover letters. To start, keep all your cover letters to a single page. If you print a physical cover letter, use the same size and quality of paper as your resume.

Cover letters should be kept to standard business letter conventions. You will want to come off as friendly, but also competent and professional. Find the name, position, company name, and address of the person to whom you write. If this is not possible, use “Hiring Manager” and “Dear Hiring Manager” over “To Whom It May Concern”.

Introductory Paragraph  

Your introduction should connect you with the intended reader. It should perhaps say that you are responding to a position listed or have spoken to someone who recommended that you apply.

Shortly after this, make a formal introduction (“My name is [first and last name]”) and state your current job title or position, if applicable. If you are just entering the job market or a specific field, state your education or experience relevant to the position.

If you’d like, you can briefly state why you responded to this position, and this can include why it caught your interest. If you do, be positive and sincere. Do not oversell your interest, just keep it light and friendly.

Body Paragraphs

Use your second and third paragraphs to detail your suitability for the position. If you can, try to “echo” the language specific to the job listing and relate it to your work experience and achievements.

You can state how these accomplishments could help in the desired position, and how your current skillset can help the company overall. Stay relevant and keep your language succinct.

Closing and Review

In your conclusion, mention your resume or online portfolio (if necessary) and how you can be contacted. Thank the reader for their consideration and state your willingness to be interviewed.

Finally, proofread and spell check your letter for errors. Read the letter out loud and make corrections as needed. With these careful considerations, you will be able to write cover letters that can express your interest, show your skills, and help get you hired.