So now you have a professional resume but what about the cover letter? As with the resume a well written cover letter is vital when applying for employment. Many job seekers spend hours preparing the resume, while very little if any thought is given to creating an effective cover letter. Although, some employers may not take the time to read the entire cover letter, it is almost always the cover letter that greets the employer when applying for employment opportunities. It is also a well written cover letters that will get you noticed and stand out from other candidate submissions.
The following outlines my personal recommendation to keep in mind when writing a professional cover letter:
- Customize each cover letter to a specific contact or department (do not use “to whom it may concern”)
- Free of grammatical errors. Proofread your cover letter and use spell check. Keep it professional not personal (e.g. do not mention marital status etc.).
- Keep the cover letter relevant to the job you are applying for.
- If you don’t have a specific contact person, address the cover letter as Dear or Attn: to a specific department.
- If you do have a contact name, spell out the entire name (e.g. Dear Jane Smith). Do not refer to the contact on a first name basis or use any nicknames.
- Don’t be overly-flattering or over the top. (e.g. “it’s been a dream to work at ABC”). Just be honest (e.g. “I’m applying for the recent job posted on the myjobnow website for a ________”)
- Use an email address that matches your name in some way. Don’t email your resume from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t sign your emails with some kind of handle or nickname. Use your given birth name.
- First impressions count, don’t be forgetful, attach your resume to the cover letter.
- Show some creativity, write a letter that conveys both your personality and professionalism.
- Every sentence of your cover letter you should show enthusiasm, passion for the position and industry, and interest in working for the employer.
- The cover letter length should never exceed one page. The cover letter is only a brief introduction to get the employer interested in reading your resume.
- Mention names if you know someone within the company for which you are applying. Hiring managers pay more attention to unsolicited resumes when they assume you were referred by one of their employees or customers.
- Cover letters should always be typed, not hand written.
- Always close with a promise of action (e.g. you will follow-up with the contact or company within 7-10 days in regards to the status).
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when writing a professional cover letter. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula that guarantees you employment, or even a job interview. An effective cover letter is simply a way to ensure you get noticed by the employer and helps you stand out from other job applicants.
Information provided by HR Difference.
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