A well written cover letter may make the difference between getting passed over for an interview or selected for an interview!  In this day and age, cover letters are indeed optional, but make no bones about it, if you write well – and write a cover letter that connects the employer’s needs to your skills and expertise – you just might be headed to that interview!   
Below I provide quick tips on writing an effective cover letter within a three-paragraph format.

Paragraph One: On average, is a two-sentence paragraph.  First sentence – indicate why you are writing, indicating the position in which you are applying for.  Second sentence – state why you are interested in the position and/or company.  Be genuine.  Stand out from the rest!

Paragraph Two: Study the job posting.  Identify the skills, knowledge and education the employer is looking for in a candidate.  Ask yourself: How does my work background line up with what the employer is looking for. Think about what you want to highlight to the employer in order to showcase your ability to perform the job. NEVER mention what you don’t have.  

Paragraph Three: Follow Up!  When others wait to hear back from the employer, you offer to reach out!  This extra effort can afford you information regarding the interview process that others may not have access to. However, if you cannot find a way to follow up, then follow the traditional wording of: I look forward to hearing back from you… and leave it at that.   

Quick reminders: Always be brief and concise.  Keep to a half a page. Take the time to customize your letter to each job posting.  Select job postings that are a fit to your skills and expertise.  Never underestimate the power of a well written Cover Letter!

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Next up… learn how to break the Three Paragraph Rule!