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Template for a Cover Letter - Traditional Format

Below is a template showing how to write a cover letter in 8 steps.  A cover letter is a formal letter and should be written as such, with attention to correct format, spelling, and grammar.
The template illustrates the 8 Steps that are described in my article:  "How to Write a Cover Letter - 8 Steps to Writing an Effective Letter that Moves the Action Forward."**
Just follow the steps and format to produce a cover letter sells you as a qualified candidate!
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Step 1:  Brand it
Full name (as it appears on business card)                                         e-mail address
Profession -  use generic title                                                                   Phone
Physical address:  optional                                                                       Linked In Address
Website address: optional
Note:  This is your Brand; use the same header as it appears on your resume.

Step 2:  List date of writing, and name and content of the recipient
Date    (generally space a blank line space between the date and name)
Name (first, middle initial if known, last    (check and double check spelling)
Company name     (check and double check spelling)            (Misspellings have cost jobs!)
City, State, Zip

Recipient's e-mail address and phone - optional

Step 3:  Include a salutation
Dear Mr. Jones, or Dear Ms. Smith:  (This is the salutation.)           (No “To Whom it May Concern”)

Step 4:  Paragraph 1 - Introduce yourself
State your purpose in writing.  (A) If you are writing to apply for an advertised position, state the title of the position, the date you heard of it, and the source. (B) If you are contacting a company with no known open position that you have targeted because it is of interest to you, say why the firm is of interest to you.  If you were referred to someone in the firm by one of your network contacts, name your contact in the first sentence, and then state your reason for writing.

Step 5:  Paragraph 2-3 - Sell yourself in 1-2 paragraphs (3 max)
Type 1:  In a cover letter for an advertised or open position, in 1-2 paragraphs discuss the job's requirements and how you meet them.  Be specific.  For each requirement (or at a minimum the primary / most critical requirements, generally occurring at the top of the requirement's list) describe a specific example of you having performed that type of work, and state the outcome, i.e., your results.

A variation, depending on your style of writing, is to list your accomplishments.  In paragraph form, state that you meet the requirements, and are experienced in performing the required work and have accomplishments to prove it.  Then list your accomplishments (work + results).  Introduce your list of accomplishments/qualifications as illustrated below by stating:

I have extensive experience designing, implementing, and overseeing _______________, as illustrated by:  
      ●    Example/Accomplishment  (Note:  State requirement + action you took and outcome
      ●    Example/Accomplishment
      ●    Example/Accomplishment
      ●    Example/Accomplishment
      ●    Example/Accomplishment

Type 2:  In a cover letter sent to a firm of interest with no known open position,  state the work the firm does, and how your skills and experience could fit in and provide benefit.  Caution:  Do your homework.  Your research should be accurate about the nature of the firm’s work and needs.  The danger of misstating a type of work being done can damage your credibility and lessen, or eliminate entirely, your chances of gaining a meeting or interview.
Show that you meet requirements by writing in paragraph form, or bullet points as shown above.

Step 6:  Paragraph 4 - Close the sale.  The sale you are closing is to get an interview
Conclude that as you provided benefit to previous employers, you would appreciate the opportunity to do the same for them.  Request the next step; ask for a meeting, interview, or opportunity to meet and discuss how your competencies could benefit their firm.
Option:  Include your contact information: phone number and e-mail address.*

 Step 7:  Sign off formally
Sincerely yours,  Sincerely, or Best regards

written signature

Full name typed
 Option:  Include your contact information: phone number and e-mail address underneath your typed name.*

 Step 8:  Sign off formally
Enclosure:  Resume, Reference List
ENC:  Resume, Bio, Work sample 

Option:  Use this option in either Step 7 or Step 8-- not both.

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
  Refer to articles:
  -  "A Resume Without a Cover Letter is a Job Only Half Done," Aug 31 2013
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