Your cover letter should be:
Your cover letter may accompany your resume directly, or it may be used as a follow-up to a conversation or meeting at which you handed the person a copy of your resume. The cover letter is often a more powerful job search device than your resume. It is always a good strategy to get the address or business card of the person to whom you give your resume, so that you can follow up with a letter.
This typed one-page single spaced document (double spaced after the salutation, between paragraphs, and after the last paragraph before the closing) should be written to convince an employer that you should be interviewed. Write it to sell yourself as a top candidate.
Personalize your letter as much as possible. Always address the letter to a specific person, including his/her title and department. If you don't have that information, call and ask for the name of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) or the Director of Personnel.
Begin your letter with your return address (street, city, state, zip code) and date in the top left corner. Follow with the name of the person, their title, department, company and full business address down several spaces positioned on the left margin.
Next is your salutation, which is Dear Name of Person . Remember, if you do not have a name, call to the company to get it. If you are answering a blind ad, simply write Dear Personnel Director.
Your first paragraph introduces you, includes a statement as to how you heard of the position at the company - through a reference, reputation, research, etc. Name your contact, if someone has recommended that you contact the company, and lastly state your job objective targeted to the employer.
In the second paragraph, state your interest in the company and why you want to work there. State clearly and persuasively why the company needs you and your particular skills. Support this assertion with a list of at least three (3) of your key accomplishments (academic and work related). Convince them that your specific coursework and work experience qualify you. Persuade them that you want to work for that company.
In your concluding paragraph, express your eagerness to meet with the individual to whom you have written and your intention of calling in a week to set up an appointment for this meeting. State the date and day when they can expect your call.
At the lower left margin your choice of closings: Sincerely or Very truly yours followed by four spaces and your typewritten name. Sign your name (in fluid ink) above your typed name.
Type your envelope including your return address. Mail it promptly.
Remember that this correspondence with a perspective employer is their first impression of you. If it is a good, well-thought-out letter, it won't be their last!
IMPORTANT: A post introductory letter is a must - simply a thank-you note for the interview reiterating your interest in the position. Follow-up of this kind is not only courteous; it might be the deciding factor in hiring you over another candidate! This can be handwritten, if you have good penmanship - if not, please type it. Once again, use high quality paper.