A cover letter must accompany any resume you send to an employer. The letter, usually three to four paragraphs long, gives you a chance to stress your qualifications for a particular position, lets you tell an employer what skills you can offer, and allows you an opportunity to request an interview.

Just like your resume, your cover letter must be well written, tightly organized, and have all the words spelled correctly. A cover letter makes a strong first impression on any employer; be sure that yours makes a positive impression. It is important to remember that this is the first piece of written material composed by you that potential employers will read.

Whether sending your letter to a specific person, a personnel department in a large organization, or in response to an advertisement, the basic format for cover letters is generally the same. However, where possible, every effort should be made to direct your letter to a specific person.

Explain why you are writing the letter. Are you answering an advertisement? Are you interested in the organization in general? Were you referred by someone in the company?
Emphasize your achievements and accomplishments as they relate to the needs of the organization.
Draw attention to your resume and summarize what makes you the best candidate to fill a position.
Indicate your availability for an interview at the employer's convenience.