There are no rigid rules on how to structure a cover letter. Writing a cover letter is a fluid process. A cover letter should show your interest in the position and reflect your personality.
Below are some suggestions on how you can structure your cover letter.
- Introduce yourself briefly. For instance, state whether you are a new graduate or a seasoned professional, where you come from, what school you attended, etc.
- Mention the position you are applying for. Try to be specific and use the correct wording. If possible, use the wording from the job posting.
- Specify how you learned about the opening. Recruiters are always curious about these kinds of things, especially when they posted the opening on multiple job boards.
- State your general qualifications for the job. This is meant to be a transition to your second paragraph. Mention your strongest skills and try to be as specific as possible (relate your skills to what the recruiter is looking for).
- State in more detail your qualifications.
- Choose your most relevant qualifications and discuss how your background and experience qualify you for the job.
- Remember that you should not repeat what is already in your resume. Use different sentence structures and try to be imaginative, yet concise.
- Request an interview or some other kind of response (be proactive).
- State where and when you can be reached (and make sure you can be reached).
- State your willingness to be interviewed or supply further information.
- Thank the reader for his or her time and consideration.
Note that the main difference between an e-mail and a hard copy correspondence is the format. The signature block (address, etc.) goes below your name in an e-mail while it goes at the top of the page on a hard copy. When applying online, do not fall into the trap of not writing a cover letter or writing a generic one. Always take the time to tailor your cover letter.