Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Writing A Good Cover Letter

A cover letter is generally a prerequisite to a resume. This is the first thing any potential employer or hiring manager will look at before even looking at your resume in most cases. A cover letter is essentially your formal introduction to the person who controls your fate in that company. There are several things an employer is looking at when reading a cover letter.

1. Your personality 2. Your Written Skills 3. How well they think you click with the company

Remember, this cover letter is before they even get to the resume, which will explain why you are qualified; therefore, it is important to make sure you are offering an excellent, well-written cover letter right from the start.

With that being said, you understand just how important it is that your resume include a cover letter. In this article, we will discuss some of the most important keys of cover letter writing, as well as some Do's and Don'ts.

The DO'S of Cover Letter Writing

When writing a cover letter you want to make sure you DO:

Addressing - You want to make sure you always address your cover letter to a person. This person should be the one in charge of hiring. If a resume and cover letter is requested, with no knowledge of a named person, you should address the letter to "human resources" or the "hiring manager".

Be Original - You want to make sure your cover letter is original with each different employer. You never know who talks to who and who can be comparing. Furthermore, when each cover letter is original, you are personalizing yourself specifically for that company.

Make it an easy read - Focus on the task at hand, write your cover letters as simple and forthright as you possibly can. Unnecessary words are just that, unnecessary, you do not need them.

Include Job Requirements - It is important to touch on the job requirements placed in any ad or job descriptions. For the most part, companies have several positions. Therefore, you must identify which position you are seeking.

Brief is the key - Never write a cover letter that is longer than one page. As a guide, paragraphs between one and three sentences are a good idea.

Sell Yourself - Give the employer reasons as to why you are an asset to his or her company. Provide examples that will prove any claims you have made, give them a reason to consider your cover letter and resume further.

Contact - Make sure contact information is provided in a clear and viable place within the cover letter.

The DON'TS of Cover Letter Writing

When writing a cover letter you want to make sure you DO NOT:

Forget - Do not forget to include a resume with your cover letter

Salutations - Do not be pointed within the salutation, you never know in what hands your cover letter will fall, male or female. Therefore never use salutations such as "Ladies" or "Gentlemen".

Writing - Do not be boring in your cover letter. Be attentive, catchy, and bold.

Cliches - Avoid the use of any cliches that are extremely common within cover letters. Your potential employers do not want you telling them that a resume is enclosed or like example, they are perfectly aware that your resume has accompanied your cover letter.

Follow Up - Do not forget to follow up with potential employers. You cannot rely on the potential employer to take any type of action; you must ask them to, ask them for an interview.

Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation - Do not forget to run a spell check or similar check on your cover letter before you send it. If you fail to find and correct spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors you will definitely have a hard time convincing any potential employer that you are the person for the job.

Clean and Crisp - Avoid sending any cover letters that have any grease, smudges, or unnecessary wrinkles within the paper.

Signature - You must not forget to personally sign your cover letter, in ink. By signing your cover letter you are adding a very personalized and real touch to the entire cover letter.

There you have it, the Do's and Don'ts of cover letter writing. With these tips, you will have no problems in producing a solid and well-written introduction to any company.

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