First of all, you need to understand that what we are talking about here is not a pretty cover to go on top of your resume.
A “cover page” is more properly known as a “cover letter.”
The purpose is to introduce yourself and convince your prospective employer why you are perfect for the position and convince him/her to read your resume. Therefore, it should be:
Outline of What a Cover Page Could Include
Let’s look at these one at a time.
Everyone Has a Name
How do you feel when you get a letter in the mail addressed to “Occupant”?
The worst thing you can say in the salutation of a cover letter is “To Whom It May Concern.”
“Dear Sir/Madam” isn’t much better, although there are times when you have no other choice. Those times are rare in these days of the obsequious Internet however; with a little time and effort, it’s possible to find out the name of the person who is going to decide the fate of your career. (There is also the quaint method of a simple telephone call.)
Using a person’s real name shows that you cared enough to find out something about the company and the flesh-and-blood human beings that actually make it run. It will make a very good first impression.
For What Are You Applying?
One of the simplest cover letters this writer ever had to deal with said, “Please consider me for any suitable opening.”
It told me nothing about what this person’s skills were or even what job they were applying for. Needless to say, it was also the simplest to deal with – into the recycle bin without a second thought.
Your cover letter must be tightly focused toward the job for which you are applying. It must succinctly state the specific position you are applying for and your specific qualifications (in other words, why should I consider hiring you?)
The Soul of Wit
Your cover letter should be three paragraphs. No more, no less.
After the salutation, the first paragraph should be used to introduce yourself and to state the specific job for which you are applying.
The second paragraph should briefly outline your qualifications.
The third should be a simple, courteous closing.
Here’s sample cover page/letter content:
1610 Pocahontas Road
Jamestown, VA 23451
Cpt. Meriwether Lewis, CEO
1234 Riverside Drive
St. Louis, MO 54593
July 1, 20__
Dear Captain Lewis:
I am contacting you in regards to your company’s opening for Advance Scout. I was very excited to learn of this opportunity, and believe you will find that I am infinitely qualified for the position.
In addition to several years as a mercenary for the British East India Company, I was instrumental in establishing the Jamestown Colony and building its defenses as well as avoiding hostilities with local natives. Under my supervision, settlers were able to establish a thriving, prosperous community in harmony with the local environment and the prior residents. During this time, I became fluent in several Indian languages and am familiar with the customs of many tribes.
Please find enclosed my current resume. Thank you in advance for your consideration; I look forward to discussing my participation in your upcoming expedition to the Oregon country.
By the way – always sign your name by hand.