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Framing a Winning Cover Letter

Posted Monday, August 8, 2011, at 4:27 AM

Framing a Winning Cover Letter

When you are sending out your resume, you need to seal the deal with a well-worded cover letter. After all, as an educational professional, your cover letter will make a powerful first impression, if it is written just right.

Your cover letter will say a lot about you as it conveys how comfortable you are with the language and how you present yourself. Try not to send out your resume without one, as it could be the factor that decides if your resume will be viewed or not.

A professional cover letter comprises three main parts:

  1. Introduction -- The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the letter. In this part you will be addressing the person you are writing to and mentioning the position that you are applying for. Check and recheck to make sure that you haven't spelled the person's name incorrectly; that would just be embarrassing. In this paragraph it would also be a good idea to include the name of the person who referred you to this position, or mention where you read about the vacancy. This may not be applicable if you are not responding to a specific job advertisement.

  2. Body -- The body of your letter will contain all the skills and expertise that make you the best candidate for the job. Remember to try to score as many brownie points as you can with this paragraph, because it will convince the reader to peruse your resume. Go through any information you can find about the school that you are applying to. This will help you frame the body by including relevant details about the school and the job position and how you can bring value to both. By showing that you took the time out to find out so much about the institution, you are bound to make a great impression. You can also include examples of any processes that you helped establish at your previous places of work, to further reveal your capability.

  3. Closing paragraph -- The final paragraph wraps up everything you have been talking about so far. In closing, you should tell the person you are addressing how excited you are to be a part of the school and mention that you would like to discuss this further in an interview. You could put in your phone number here as an easy reference for the recipient.

Once you are done writing your perfect letter, go over it a couple of times to make sure there aren't any spelling mistakes or typographical errors. You could also get a friend who is a grammatical whiz to go through the letter in case you have missed out on something or could have worded something a little better. Finally, the most important thing: Don't forget to send your resume along with the letter! There's nothing worse than a missing attachment, as it just conveys an impression of tardiness.

These tips are all you need to write the perfect cover letter. Do your research and get started on it right away!

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I am a masters level career counselor. I am internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International and have been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.
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