A cover letter allows you to personalize your resume when it is sent to prospective employers in response to advertisements or to inquire about possible interviews. The letter's main purpose is to advertise your strengths and assets in a way that would interest employers in interviewing you. It is also useful in that it can save valuable time by enabling you to visit only the most promising prospects or helping you avoid places where there is no interest in you as a prospective employee.
To attract the reader's ATTENTION, the cover letter must look good and be easy to read. Use of quality 8 1/2" X 11" paper, correct English, spelling, spacing, paragraphing, margins and above all, flawless typing is a must. Address it to a particular person by name, making sure that the spelling and title of the individual are correct. The person addressed should hold an influential position in the company. A good cover letter is not too long, so try to limit yours to only part of a single page.
The first paragraph should arouse the reader's INTEREST. This can be done by stating some particular knowledge you have of the reader's business, by a comment on some "timely" issue relating to the company's operation or by an impersonal statement of some outstanding fact relating to your ability that would probably appeal to the employer.
The body of the cover letter should make the employer DESIRE to interview you by explaining what you can do for his/her company. Put yourself in the employer's position as you write and present facts that will both be interesting and accurately describe your assets and qualifications. Your prospective employer will be interested in your ability to make and/or save money, to conserve time, to effectively assume and discharge responsibility and to produce results more rapidly and economically than anyone else. Do not stress your bad points, such as lack of experience or unemployment.
The last paragraph should request ACTION. Ask directly for an interview stating specific times and dates when you will call to arrange an interview. In all circumstances be courteous but use a direct approach.
The letter should end with the formal salutation, "Sincerely yours." Below the salutation, type your name and then add your signature. Remember the use of AIDA (ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, AND ACTION) will result in a cover letter that is both pleasing to read and effective.