Cover letters are the way you make an immediate and favorable impression on your potential new employer. It is the medium through which you get your foot in to door and get invited to an interview therefore you should not underestimate its importance in your job search. See the sample cover letter to understand the format and style of the cover letter.
Cover letters are brief and highlight the important details about you. You should never submit a cover letter that is more than one page long. Also, it is best to address cover letters directly to an individual where you are applying rather than to an office such as "Personnel" or "Human Resources." You should be able to locate the name of the specific individual during you job research period.
The cover letter should be written just as any other formal letter is with a four or five paragraph style with proper addressing, introduction, body and closing. Make sure and use the same paper and envelope type and color that you use for your résumé. It may seem strange but some employers will automatically discard letters and résumé s that are not on the same type of paper.
At the top of the paper should be your name and address. You may want to take the time to create a personalize stationary with this information on it since you will be using it frequently.
Next comes the date on a separate line.
The inside address is the Name of the Company you are sending the letter to, the name of the individual if that's known (and it should be from your research) and the address of the company.
The salutation is next. Remember it is best to address you letter to a specific individual so your salutation should be "Dear Ms. Johnson," Dear Mr. Albright," etc. Note the commas after the salutation. If you must address your letter in a more generic form, then is should read "To the members of the _________ search committee:" or "To the Human Resources Manager of _______Company:" Note that there are colons after these greetings since they are not addresses to a specific person.
The first sentence of the letter should grab the attention of the reader and the remainder of the first paragraph should strongly state why you are applying for the position.
The second section should tie your interests mentioned in section one to the job that is open with the company. If you are writing to company's without specific openings, then this section will target the specific operations of the company "to explore any need you [the company] might have in __________area." Then highlight your merits by calling attention to one or two of your accomplishments or achievements.
Section three is where your letter requests action. You want this prospective employer to immediately pick up the phone or head to their email to invite your for an interview. You can do this by offering to contact them in a period of time ("I will call you on the 20th to arrange a meeting") or to mention that you will be in the area and will be in the area on a certain date and would like the opportunity to meet them.
Finally don't forget to thank the person for their time and then finish with your signature.
Always remember this is a formal letter so make sure that your letter is grammatically correct and everything is spelled correctly. At no time is it proper to use short-hand (G R 8 2 CU, TY, J, ;) or any other short cuts). Remember to keep you sentences brief and to the point. No one likes to read wordy sentences.