Cover Letters-10 Tips
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A creative, well-written cover letter is often the best way to
make your résumé stand out from the endless sea of applicants and find its
way into the “must read” pile of the person making the hiring decisions.
Here are 10 simple tips to help your cover letter wow:
Make yourself stand out. Get the
competitive edge by writing a cover letter that focuses on your unique and
exceptional qualities. What makes you an ideal candidate? Be strategic,
persuasive, and concise.
Target the right person. Sending your
letter to the proper person can make all the difference. Avoid generic
addresses such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
Instead, call the company and find out the name and title of the person
who does the hiring for the job that you’re interested in. Remember to ask
for the correct spelling of his or her name.
Stay simple. Keep your cover letter
brief. Never send a letter that is more than a page in length; half a page
is ideal. Be sure to use clear, professional language while steering away
from buzzwords, acronyms, jargon, or anything overly personal.
Make it shine. The overall visual
impression of your cover letter can be just as important as what’s written
upon it. Make sure to use crisp, quality stationery. Match the style of
copy on your cover letter with the style of your résumé. Stick with one
font and avoid solid walls of text that make the reader’s eyes bounce
right off the page. Break your text into digestible morsels with lots of
Be an attention getter. Don’t waste
your first paragraph by writing a dull introduction. Grab the employer's
attention from the start by pointing out how you can make a difference in
a way no other candidate can. Keep in mind that you have only about one to
two seconds to get your initial point across before the reader moves on to
the next letter.
Sell yourself. Don’t expect to wow a
prospective employer with a lengthy checklist of what you’ve done in the
past. Instead, position your accomplishments in terms of how you could
bring the same benefits to their company. Your cover letter needs to
answer the question “What’s in it for my company?” Clarify how your
expertise will benefit them directly.
Hire a proofreader. Never
underestimate the negative effect of bad writing, which can greatly hurt
your chances of landing a new position. Invest in your career by hiring a
professional writer or editor to check your cover letter for spelling,
grammar, and overall readability.
Avoid exaggeration. There’s nowhere to
hide when you finally land an interview and the prospective employer wants
to know what you meant by “best in the world.” Avoid saying anything that
sounds like hyperbole, which can project the wrong image and damage your
credibility. And remember never to speak poorly of former employers or
Close encounters. Don’t depend on the
employer to take action. Request an interview and tell the employer when
you will follow up to arrange it.
Don’t forget the follow-up. After
sending in your cover letter and résumé, it’s imperative that you follow
up. You’ll greatly increase your chances of getting an interview if you
call the employer directly after writing, rather than just sitting back
and waiting for a call.