Tips for Writing a Great Cover Letter

John Krautzel
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Your cover letter is one of the most important tools in your job search. Done right, a cover letter persuades a recruiter or hiring manager to schedule a job interview, giving you a better chance of landing the job of your dreams. If you are searching for a new job, use these tips to create a cover letter that gets results.

Instead of summarizing your resume, write about the achievements you have made in your industry. If you won a prestigious award or used your skills to save your company a significant amount of money, be sure to include the information in your cover letter. Some job advertisements yield hundreds of applications for the same position, so you must be able to demonstrate what makes you the best candidate for the job.

Make the hiring manager's job a little easier by including some basic information in every cover letter. Put your contact information at the top of the letter, or add it to your closing paragraph when you request a job interview or follow-up telephone call. Use your opening paragraph to provide a brief summary of your work history. Because some managers have to fill multiple jobs at the same time, you should include the name of the position for which you are applying somewhere in your cover letter.

Following the standard format for a cover letter helps demonstrate that you can follow directions and format business correspondence properly. Type your name and address, the date of your letter, and the company name and address at the top of the page. The letter itself should include an introduction, two or three body paragraphs and a strong closing paragraph. Do not write more than one page of content, or the hiring manager might not want to read your letter in its entirety.

Sending the same letter to every company doesn't help demonstrate your enthusiasm, so take the time to customize your cover letter for each employer. Each version must contain some of the same information, such as your address or a summary of your skills, but you should also include information specific to each company. Read trade magazines or visit company websites for ideas on what you should include in your letter to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

When you finish writing your cover letter, proofread it carefully. Hiring managers are looking for detail-oriented people who take pride in their work. Submitting a document riddled with errors hurts your credibility and may even hurt your chances of getting a job. If writing is not your strong suit, ask a trusted friend to proofread your cover letter for you.

Although work experience and professional skills are important, a good cover letter is what helps you get your foot in the door. Instead of submitting a form letter that summarizes the content of your resume, write a customized cover letter that demonstrates your value as an employee.

 

Photo courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


 

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ramona - a cover letter is specific to each job for which you apply. The cover letter you send to company A will be different than the one you send to company B. You can do some research on the Internet - just type in sample cover letter for X position - such as Admin Asst and you will get thousands of responses. You could read through some of the samples and get a good idea on how to write your own. Hope this helps. I wish you all the best.

  • Ramona G.
    Ramona G.

    How can I get help with my cover letter?

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