Writing Cover Letters

The next technique you need to master in your job-hunting campaign is the skill of writing cover letters that will seize your reader’s attention and compel them to read your resume …

A personalized cover letter should accompany any mailed resume. Here are a few pointers:

Layout / Presentation

  • project a professional image by sending a typewritten letter
  • keep it short — no more than one page
  • put your name, address and contact telephone number at the top of the page, followed by the name address and company of the person to whom the letter is addressed
  • always address your reader by name: if you are replying to an advertisement that does not mention the name of the employer or recruiter, call the company to find out this essential information

Content

  • in the first paragraph, introduce yourself and indicate what position you are applying for; mention the name of a contact or referral source if possible
  • in the main part of the letter, explain why you want to work for the company and show that you have done some research about them; mention relevant skills and experience and try to indicate how you would be particularly well suited to the position
  • close with a paragraph to indicate what action you will take next: for example, you could state your intention to call at a specific time the following week to follow up your application

Check your letter several times for spelling or grammar mistakes. Such errors can instantly consign your resume to the waste paper bin! It’s a good idea to print out your letter and your resume before you proofread them: many people find it harder to spot mistakes when they read from a monitor.

A concise and well crafted cover letter serves a vital purpose in persuading the reader to give full attention to your resume. Many professional resume writers will offer to draft a matching cover letter as part of their services.

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