Cover letters serve an important role in selling you to a prospective employer. Cover letters are less formal than a Resume but, just like a job-winning Resume, they emphasize the benefits of hiring you.

Use the first paragraph to say why you’re writing. Be specific about what position you’re applying for. This is also the place to explain if you’ve just graduated, are leaving the military, or are relocating. If you’re currently employed say so, and then add something like, “Although I enjoy my job, I’m searching for new challenges that will make the most of all my skills and abilities.”

Next, mention some of those skills and abilities. Which ones? The ones that are most important to this particular employer. Remember that one of the Resume Secrets is knowing as much as possible about your potential employer.

Now you can devote one or two paragraphs to your accomplishments and achievements. As you already know, facts speak up the loudest.

Time to wrap it all up and thank them for their time. Don’t try to cram everything into your Cover Letter. Keep it light and airy with nice margins.

One good rule of thumb is to keep your paragraphs at 4 to 5 lines or less. Another tip: double-check to make sure you spell the person’s name correctly. They won’t notice if you do, but they’ll be irritated if you don’t. And make sure whether the person is a Mr. or Ms. or Dr. or Professor or some other title.

Now here’s a sample Cover Letter to show you how it all works together.

Always remember that the Cover Letter is part of selling you and the best way to do that is by emphasizing the benefits of hiring you.

Now on to Power Words.