A cover letter gives you the opportunity to highlight your selling points and explain why you are sending your CV.
It allows you to explain what qualifies you for the opportunity, why you are interested and the emphasis should be on what you can offer rather than placing emphasis on what you are hoping to gain.
A cover letter will yield the best results if it is targeted to “match” a specific job specification. Mass produced cover letters do not generally receive as favourable a response as an individually tailored one.
A cover letter on its own isn’t ever going to secure a job by itself but a badly constructed and worded one is likely to sow the seeds of doubt into your potential employers mind.
A good cover letter explains, succinctly and with clarity, why you are worth being asked for interview. It puts the flesh on to the bones of your factual CV – it whets the reader’s appetite.
Address your letter to a specific person rather than “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” You can call companies directly and ask a receptionist for the name, title and correct spelling of the appropriate contact or try to get the information from their website.
Pay particular attention to grammar, typing and spelling; avoid the temptation to turn your cover letter into an extensive autobiography and keep it to one page.
Essentially your cover letter is a self acclaimed competency statement for the job you’re applying for.
It is important to remember that you are writing the cover letter to get an interview.