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When several people are competing for the same job, it is important for your resumé to stand out among the competition. One way to make your resumé stand out is to have an effective cover letter.

Cover Letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to provide highlights of your experience and skills and to get the employer to take interest in your resumé. The cover letter is comprised of several sections and each section serves a purpose.

Below is a list of the necessary sections:

Return Address: This is your contact information which includes your name, address, email, and phone number

Recipient Address: This is who you are sending the letter to. It is important to have the correct name, job title and address for the person in charge of filling the position.

Salutation: Most letters start with Dear Mr., Mrs., or Ms., followed by the name of the person who will read the cover letter.

Body: The body of the cover letter will consist of multiple paragraphs.

Introduction: State why you are applying for the position.

First Paragraph: Briefly talk about the skills and knowledge you have that qualify you for the job. When listing your skills, be sure to detail your soft skills and technical skills.

Second Paragraph: Highlight any related experience you have. List skills that you that meet the qualifications listed in the job post. Point out relevant training classes you have completed that the job may require.

Closing Paragraph: End the cover letter by thanking the reader for the opportunity to apply for the position and ask for an interview to further discuss your qualifications.

Complimentary Close: End the cover letter with a salutation such as sincerely or thank you. Leave space to sign the letter at the bottom and type your name just below where you sign the letter.

Enclosure: The last thing on the letter should be “Enclosure.” This indicates that you enclosed a resumé you want the reader to see.

For more information about cover letters, see the Alabama Extension publication Create a Stand Out Cover Letter.

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