general cover letter
Opening paragraph: State why you are writing; how you learned of the organization or position, and basic information about yourself (your elevator speech).
2nd paragraph: Tell why you are interested in the employer or type of work the employer does (Simply stating that you are interested does not tell why, and can sound like a form letter). Demonstrate that you know enough about the employer or position to relate your background to the employer or position. Mention specific qualifications from the job description, which make you a good fit for the employer’s needs. This is an opportunity to explain in more detail relevant items in your resume.
3rd paragraph: Customize this paragraph to the employer. Who are they? What are they doing that make you (as an applicant) interested in their organization? As an example think about mission statements, values, philanthropic giving, or other interest areas that directly align with your values. Explain that. Companies want to know that you know about them and what they are doing.
4th paragraph: Indicate that you would like the opportunity to interview for a position or to talk with the employer to learn more about their opportunities or hiring plans. State that you would be glad to provide the employer with any additional information needed. Thank the employer for her/his consideration.