How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter

4/26/2014

Writing an excellent cover letter is a skill that all job seekers must develop. While your resume will give your prospective employer information about yourself, it is the cover letter that reveals the kind of person you are and how you can be an asset to the company. A well-written cover letter will help you get the interview opportunity that you are aiming for.


Here are some tips on how to write a covering letter that can grab the recruiting manager’s attention and make him decide to ask you to an interview.


First, consider the kind of paper to use. Most cover letters and resumes are written on white bond paper, short size. It is sent together with the resume on a separate page. However, if you are sending your resume and cover letter through email, the latter must be in the email itself and not as an attachment. If you attach it instead, the recruiting manager would receive a blank page. In addition, it might be redirected to spam mail because the mail has only a blank page.


Second, consider the format to be used. A cover letter is a formal form of communication and full-blocked format will be preferable. Use the correct salutation and closure. If you use “Dear Ms. Jones,” you can end it with “Yours sincerely;” if you use Dear Sir/Madam”, the closure would be “Yours faithfully.” This may look trivial but it is the little things that determine if you will get an interview, or your resume and cover letter end up in the trash can.


Third, address the recipient of the letter and resume by name.  If you do not know the person’s name, find means to get it. You can ask someone you know in the office for the recruitment manager’s name or you can call the human resource office directly and ask for the name. Your efforts will show that you possess initiative, resourcefulness, and common sense – three traits that most employers would want to see from their employees.


Fourth, do some research on the company. Your letter must present your skills and abilities in such a way that they are aligned to the needs of the company to where you are applying. Using generic descriptions of yourself such as stating that you are “a motivated, proactive, and honest individual” is like sounding off what other applicants had said about themselves. Instead, explain how your skills and knowledge will bring value to the company. Know the company goals and its culture and state in your cover letter how you can help it achieve its targets and uphold or promote its culture.


Fifth, proofread. Check for words that you have misspelled and for grammatical errors. Most employers prefer workers who are good in communications, both spoken and written. Sending a cover letter with lots of small mistakes will only leave the recipient a negative impression. In addition, be concise. Recruitment managers are too busy to spend time reading your dissertation-like cover letter.  As much as possible, make your letter concise and straight to the point.


Remember that first impressions are important and your resume and cover letter will speak for you. Your opportunity of landing a job depends on how well you have convinced the recruitment manager that you are the right person for the job through your cover letter.


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