A cover letter is used to accompany a resume or curriculum vitae when applying for a job. The cover letter serves as an additional effort to advertise yourself to a prospective employer, but in a personal manner that a resume often lacks.

When writing a cover letter, keep the following in mind:
  • Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Show that you can form complete sentences, and if you are uncertain, find someone to proof-read your letter.
  • Personalization. Address yourself to the specific employer the letter is being sent to. Ink out your signature directly on the letter; photocopied signatures are against the spirit of intimacy you're trying to create. Examine the position's demands in the job advertisement and explain precisely how you will fulfill them. Demonstrate some sort of awareness of what the employer does, who they are, and why you want to work for them. You do want to work for this employer, right? Prove it to them.
  • Jargon. Lay on a thick coating of industry-specific language. Carefully choose the most concise and current terms that are used in the respective industry.
  • Coherent style. Your cover letter should mimic the quality and form of your resume. If your resume uses bright white paper and 12pt Helvetica, so should your cover letter. Don't use tacky paper with clipart and 40pt Lucida.
  • Avoid verbiage, pleonasms, and sesquipedalia. Large words and overly wordy sentences are not likely to impress anyone, but rather hinder communication.
  • Avoid repetition. Do not rehash what you've outlined in your resume. Expand on it and offer insights to the employer that may not be detailed on your resume.

It should be noted that some employers find cover letters to be antiquated or unnecessary, so try to find out your prospective employer's preference.