How to write a cover letter
How to write a cover letter
A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience. Cover letters are a great opportunity to cover qualifications we cannot fully explain in our resumes. In addition, they help personalize job applicants to enable them to come across more as real people to potential employers. The letter provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Do not simply repeat what is on your resume, include specific information on why you are a strong match for the employer’s job requirements. Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch that will market your credentials and help you get the interview. As such, you want to make sure your cover letter makes the best impression on the person who is reviewing it. A cover letter typically accompanies each resume you send out. Employers use cover letters as a way to screen applicants for available jobs and to determine which candidates is good to have a interview. If an employer requires a cover letter, it will be listed in the job posting. Even if the company doesn’t ask for one, you may want to include one anyway.
Things to include in a cover letter
Try to write your cover letter in a single page. Be succinct.
Assess the employer’s needs and your skills. Then try to match them in the letter in a way that will appeal to the employer’s self-interest.
As much as possible, tailor your letter to each job opportunity. Try to demonstrate some knowledge of the organization to which you are applying.
Write in a style that is mature but clear, avoid long & intricate sentences and paragraphs, avoid jargon. Use action verbs and the active voice; convey confidence, optimism, and enthusiasm coupled with respect and professionalism.
Show some personality, but avoid hard-sell, gimmicky, or unorthodox letters. Start fast, attract interest immediately.
Arrange the points in a logical sequence, organize each paragraph around a main point.
Things not to include in a cover letter
Typos or mistakes
Always spell-check your cover letter. It is even better to get someone else to read it and point out any mistakes or confusing things. People you could ask to read over your cover letter include friends, family members, your careers teacher or a careers counselor at your university. Double-check all the things in your cover letter. If you mention a company’s name, make sure you get it right. If you mention places you have worked before, make sure you get their names right too. Mistakes on cover letters are worse than typos.
Including your whole resume
Do not copy your resume into your cover letter. Try to re-word the information on your resume rather than just repeating it. Keep your cover letter short and let your resume tell the whole story.
Using “I” too much
Try to make sure that you do not fill your cover letter with things like “I believe”, “I have” and “I am”. Once you have written your letter, read over it and try to take out or rewrite as many sentences that start with “I” as you can.
Do not mention your other job applications
You will probably have more than one job application on the go at any one time. It is important not to mention other job applications. You are trying to convince the people that you really want the job. It is hard to do that if they know you are looking for other jobs as well. Even though most people assume that you are applying for more than one job at a time, it is a good idea not to act like you are.
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