Cover letter writing may seem like a necessary evil when you are looking for work, but it is no less important than preparing your resume. Taking the time to craft your cover letter well will increase your chances of getting that all-important interview – and a job offer. Here are some short, sweet, and to the point cover letter writing tips to chew on to help you reach your goal.
1. Use a business letter format.
A basic block style format is easy to follow and always looks professional. You don’t need to be concerned about missing an indent on a paragraph like you would if you used one of the other letter-writing styles.
2. Address it to a specific person.
If you don’t have the person’s name, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Manager” over “Dear Sir or Madam.” It’s worthwhile to make a phone call to the company to find out the name of the person you should be addressing your correspondence to and the correct spelling of his or her name if you are not sure.
3. Writing about how you can benefit the company.
The hiring manager is looking for someone who can increase earnings or save the company money. You can hook his or her interest by demonstrating that you can benefit the company in this manner.
4. Be honest.
Don’t put anything in your cover letter that is not true and that you can’t back up. If the employer find out that you lied, you’re finished even before you have a chance to be interviewed. You can even be fired if the company finds out that you lied on your application after you land the job, so be very careful when you are presenting yourself to an employer.
5. Keep it brief.
Don’t go over one page. Even if you have had a lengthy career. Your goal is to encourage the hiring manager to invite you for a personal interview, not eliminate the necessity for one.
6. Include the title of the position you are applying for.
Hiring managers see hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes and cover letters. Don’t make the person guess which job you would like to be considered for when you apply. If you are responding to an ad, use the exact title so the hiring manager can match your cover letter to the position. In many cases, resumes and cover letters are sorted by computer software and if yours doesn’t use the same keywords, it will be overlooked.
7. Summarize your qualifications.
Tell the reader why you would be a stellar candidate for the position, without rehashing the contents of your resume. The cover letter is meant to encourage hiring manager to invite you to a meeting. Take this opportunity to convince him or her why getting face to face with you would be a good idea.
8. Close with a specific call to action.
Ask for an interview. You could also tell the reader that you will be calling to follow up on your letter. If you decide to add this sentence, make a note in your calendar, and be sure to follow up. To end your letter on a positive note, be sure to thank the reader for his or her consideration.
9. Proofread your writing.
Go over your letter in detail. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to take a look at it for you as well. You don’t want to leave anything to chance when you are introducing yourself to a potential employer. This is your chance to make a good impression, and writing with spelling and grammar errors will immediately relegate your application to the bottom of the pile. It won’t matter whether you have excellent skills or the right educational background for the job at that point.
10. Don’t forget to sign your letter.
This is another detail that you may overlook if you are trying too hard to make a good impression. If you are mailing the letter, put pen to paper and sign it. In a case where you are e-mailing it, make sure you put your name at the bottom of your correspondence. The hiring manager will appreciate your eye for detail when deciding whether to invite you for an interview.
About the author
Leslie Anglesey is an academic paper writing specialist and a contributor to EssayTigers. She is an active member of writing and blogging events.
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Good luck in your search.