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Writing a Cover Letter that Works

write a cover letter

Your cover letter is your opportunity to make a good first impression with the Federal hiring manager. It provides you with the chance to convince the hiring manager to read your résumé and it lets you explain how your experiences tie into the job to which you are applying.

Make sure that you have carefully read the description of duties outlined I the job announcement – Highlight qualifications and duties that your résumé speaks to and make sure that, if there are any gaps in your résumé, you can fill them in via your cover letter.

Research the agency to which you are applying – Your cover letter is your first chance to express how your mindset matches up with that of the organization and make a personal connection with the hiring manager.

Formatted clearly and professionally- Use a simple, clean font. Ensure that your cover letter is professional and matches your résumés format (font, size, header etc.)

Specific rather than vague- Tell exactly what experiences you have had that make you a great candidate for the position, not merely that you have experience.

Length- Your cover letter should be less than a page in length. Be concise and clear Once your letter is ready- Be sure to proofread it. Grammatical and spelling errors should be avoided at all costs. Delete colloquialisms and contractions.

What should the content include?
The first paragraph should identify the position to which you are applying. It should grab the hiring manager’s attention and make it clear that you are a great candidate for the job.

In your main paragraph, you should focus on matching your qualifications to the needs of the position. Include elements about the organization to which you are applying. This will not only emphasize that you are serious about the job and not sending out a form letter, but it will also make it easier for you to show how you can help the organization to reach its goals.

The last paragraph should direct the reader to your enclosed résumé.
Follow with your availability for an interview.

Sample Cover Letter

Name, Last Name
Address 1
Address 2
State, City Zip Code
Mobile: (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Evening Phone: (XXX) XXX-XXX
Email: [email protected]


Company or Manager’s Address

Dear Hiring Manager;
Over the years I have gained around 11 years committed to the human resources profession and demonstrated a track record for delivering results. As I approach new opportunities, I would like to apply for the job of human resources specialist with vacancy identification number: VW383446 posted in USAJOBS. For your immediate review and consideration, attached please find a current copy of my résumé.

Throughout my career in the profession of human resources, my work is characterized in multiple areas. Making recommendations and exercise judgment with sensitive and confidential information on human resource issues for designated major functional unit.

Process 190 evaluations and more than 150 additional officer action reports with 100% accuracy and completeness. Oversee the Personnel Management Division consisting of up to 3000 senior and junior personnel. Provide recommendations which were implemented to solve problems pertaining to issues such as retention and motivation.

Review department personnel forms for completeness, accuracy, timing, and conformity to budget and policy guidelines.

Attached is a copy of my résumé. If you wish to meet me in person I am available for an interview any time in the afternoon. Feel free to contact me at (478)-823-2324 or any of the entries listed above. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

First Name Last Name