Drafting Effective Cover Letters and Post-Interview Correspondence
A cover letter informs an employer why you are interested in working for their organization and why they should hire you. It should highlight your credentials and background as tailored to that employer. An informative, error-free cover letter sets a positive tone for the person reviewing your resume and credentials.
Be specific, but concise.
A cover letter should never sound like a form letter. Always take the time to write a cover letter tailored to the individual employer. If you are responding to a job announcement or posting, make sure that your letter details how your background or experience fits with the specific hiring criteria mentioned in the posting. Do not just reiterate issues already listed on the resume. If you are writing to the hiring partner or the head of a specific group, make sure to explain how you believe you fit with that group.
A well-written cover letter should:
- Detail your specific background and strengths that match the needs of the employer;
- Add relevant information that is not on your resume; and
- When appropriate, indicate your reasons for geographical preference, if not apparent from your resume.
Post-interview correspondence -- which may include thank-you notes and letters accepting or declining offers of employment -- should be similarly tailored, specific, and error-free. Any post-interview correspondence should provide enough information to evoke the relationship you have established with the recipient and to fulfill the purpose of the correspondence (generally, either getting or giving information or thanks), and then should conclude gracefully, respecting the reader's time.
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