1. Show what you know about the company. Cover letters should always be specific. Generic ones, while they might have taken just as long to write, don’t always come off as genuine. Taking the extra time to include information specific to the company demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and have a serious interest in the position. When at all possible, find out the name of the HR person who will be reading your cover letter and address it directly to him/her. Also, research recent news about the company, and if you find something relevant to the position you’re applying to, make sure to incorporate it where you can.
2. State what you can bring to the company. This is where you can play up your skills and qualifications. Mention things you haven’t already mentioned in your resume, or elaborate more on them. However, beware of space — the whole point of a cover letter is to be simply an introduction to you, and should really be only about a page in length.
3. State what you hope to gain from the position you’re applying to, or the company in general. Every new job offers you an opportunity to grow. Be sure to mention how you can benefit from the position (think outside of the box — don’t mention that you’re looking forward to the paycheck!). Showing not only what you can give, but what you expect to learn and gain from the position helps the employer realize how you’ll be a great fit and that the hiring can be mutually beneficial.
4. If you’ve got a name? Drop it. If you were referred to the position by someone inside the company, don’t be afraid to mention it. Showing you already know and get along with someone from the company is a good sign, just make sure the person you’re mentioning is aware that you’re applying for a position. The hiring manager will have an easy reference to turn to, and you want to make sure the person you mentioned knows what to expect.
For more tips on cover letter writing, check out these sites: