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To write an effective cover letter, keep these points in mind:

Purpose – Your letter not only serves as an ambassador for you, introducing your credentials, but an effective letter must also generate the reader’s interest in you. Ultimately you want to prompt a favorable reply.

Audience – Think about the perspective of the person who will read your letter. They are not interested in what YOU want, but rather in what value you offer. What you convey should prove of interest enough to lead the reader to want to meet you.

Structure – A letter should be composed of:

 – Introductory paragraph that explains why you are writing and shows some knowledge of the company

 – Value-selling paragraph that demonstrates your unique value proposition

 – Highlights of your key strengths and abilities

 – Statement that either compels or ensures follow-up action

 – Statement of appreciation

Point of View – Write in the first person; but vary your sentences with beginning phrases and clauses so that each line does not start with “I.”

Match Needs with Qualifications – Show the reader you meet the position specifications, which will help simplify the process of reading your letter.

Good Writing Requires Rewriting – Don’t be satisfied with your first draft. After you let your ideas flow, go back and review your writing for glaring grammatical errors. Edit to remove unnecessary words and phrases. Limit your paragraphs to five or six lines, so you don’t overwhelm the reader.

Appearance – Proof your letters very carefully. Have someone else review them. Don’t rely on a computer spell-checker. A word may be correctly spelled but inappropriate for the context.