The cover letter is one of the most important parts of the job searching process. While the resume can list your accomplishments and previous employers, the cover letter showcases your skills in greater depth and can be the first document the hiring manager reads—even before the resume.

What should you include in the body of the cover letter? First, be sure to use key words from the advertisement. If the employer is seeking someone that has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and you have that, be sure to spell it out clearly in the cover letter—in those exact words. And, if the employer asks for someone with educational experience, be sure to use these words in your cover letter.

Next, use the cover letter to show how your qualifications meet the employer’s needs. To make this section easier to read, consider using bullet points or a list format; this will make the information stand out in the cover letter. More importantly, use a “you” attitude when writing the letter. Rather than talking about “I” and “me,” utilize words like “you,” “your organization,” and “the company.” This shows the employer that you are really thinking about how your skills will benefit the organization.

Finally, close the cover letter with confidence and a positive attitude. A confident cover letter means that you are fully expecting that you know you meet the qualifications and will be contacted for an interview. Even with confidence, the letter should end politely and thank the employer for reviewing the documents.

Understanding how to write the cover letter is critical to your job success. Matching your qualifications with the job opportunity, along with aligning key words will help you achieve success during this important step to employment.