Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writing Cover Letters

Writing Cover Letters

A cover letter is a document that is sent in with your resume when applying for a job in order to further establish your eligibility for it. The cover letter can make the difference between getting the job and having your resume ignored, so it is a good idea to hone your cover letter-writing skills. Here are five tips on writing cover letters:
  1. Edit it thoroughly. This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when writing a cover letter. There must be no mistakes, grammatical, spelling, or formatting, in the letter. Mistakes convey carelessness and sloppiness; no employer is going to be impressed by them. Do not hand-write cover letters; always use a word processing software like Microsoft Word to type them out.
  2. Write a targeted letter. Writing a generic cover letter enumerating your skills and experience is simple enough, but how is that going to help you stand out? A targeted cover letter, i.e. one that focuses on the skills required by the job and the qualities that your potential employer is looking, is self-evidently more convincing.
  3. Avoid clichés. Cliches are indicative of a lack of originality and effort. This does not mean, however, that you must go out of your way to be overly wordy. Your language must be crisp and formal; what you must avoid is recycling overused phrases.
  4. Keep it short. Remember, your employer probably has a lot of cover letters to read. Cover letters should never exceed a page in length. You must compress into the page your interest in and enthusiasm for the job and, in particular, the employer, and the factors that make you an eligible applicant (qualifications and experience). Keep in mind, however, that keeping it short does not necessitate curtness.
  5. Thank the company for their consideration. The cover letter is possibly your first contact with a potential employer; the trick is, therefore, to create the best impression possible. Including a note of gratitude at the end will convey to the employer how much you care about the job.

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