What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a short letter that you write to your potential employers to introduce your application for a job opening. This is your chance to say “hi” to the company, tell them a little bit about yourself, and describe why you would be an excellent part of their team. Most employers request that you send along a cover letter with your resume, so it’s good to know how to write a compelling letter when it comes time to hunt for a job.

It’s important to realize that your cover letter is not the same as your resume, and you should never try to send one instead of the other. While your resume serves as a detailed list of your skills and experience, your cover letter is an opportunity to talk about these individual qualifications and describe how they might relate to the job in question. While you might be sending the same resume to many different employers, it’s often a good idea to write a special cover letter for each company to express why you’d make a good fit for their particular situation.

Another valuable part of a cover letter is that it lets you discuss your “soft” skills that might not be apparent on your resume. Maybe you can describe how you learned to work under pressure, or you developed leadership skills in your volunteer work, or you possess a passion for working with children or some other important part of the job you are applying for. Take some time to learn what makes for a good cover letter, and it will pay big dividends during your job search.