Are Bullets Okay on a Cover Letter?

John Scott
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A resume cover letter is much like your first impression at a job interview. You can walk in wearing shorts and flip-flops and make a bad impression, or you can go in wearing professional attire that lets the recruiter see you put forth your best effort. Many recruiters will glance through your cover letter toss your resume aside if nothing catches their eyes. This is why including bullet points to draw attention to your skills and accomplishments is acceptable.

The primary goals of a cover letter are to express your interest in the company and position, provide a quick overview of why the company needs you, and demonstrate that you have basic writing skills. It should only take a few paragraphs to accomplish this. According to a recent article on Money Talks News, professional recruiters make a habit of skimming through cover letters because they have so many they have to read. Strategically placed bullet points near the bottom of the cover letter will get you noticed and help eliminate the clutter of a lengthy letter.

If you frequently find yourself being eliminated from the candidate pool, HR managers simply may not like your cover letter. Instead of sending out the same cover letter, try creating a new one with a new layout. Your opening paragraph should identify the position you're applying for and how you found out about it. Gain the recruiter's attention by briefly describing why you are the perfect fit, and demonstrate that you have done your research about the company by relating your career goals to the company's mission. Your middle paragraph should highlight your educational background and how it relates to the position. Insert bullet points in your cover letter before closing to draw attention to your strongest points for someone skimming the letter.

Bullet points make an excellent addition to your cover letter, but make sure you're not simply regurgitating your resume. Offer specific examples of your skills. Think back through your career to instances of completing a project on your own, helping develop a new process for doing things, or saving a company money. Use the details from each of those events as a bullet point. The bullets in your cover letter should be complete sentences, and you should generally use three to five bullets.

A well-thought-out and well-written cover letter can leave the best impression in a hiring manager's mind. In fact, a good cover letter may be your one chance to impress, make sure it is free from errors and strong enough to catch the recruiter's eye. A simple bullet list to break up information on your cover letter is an excellent way to highlight your best skills and help you get your dream job.



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