10 Top Tips for Your Cover Letter

Nancy Anderson
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Your cover letter is your first introduction to a prospective employer. Making a great first impression is important. Use these cover letter tips to craft a professional cover letter to land an interview.

1. Do Your Research

Learn about the company through its website and social media pages. Keep the tone of your letter in line with the tone of the image of the business portrayed through its Web presence. For example, if you sense a playful feel, keep your letter casual and witty. If the Web presence is sleek and contemporary, stick to the basics.

2. Get Personal

While you are researching, find out the name of the person responsible for hiring, and address your cover letter accordingly. These little details show that your interest in the job is serious and create a positive impression on the reader.

3. Prove Your Worth

Give specific examples of how you have exhibited the competencies required for the job in past work or school experiences. Do not simply state that you have the necessary skills and competencies. Spell out exactly what you have done to show those qualities.

4. Pay Attention to Keywords

Use the exact words in the job description when writing about your skills. These keywords are used by applicant tracking software to filter in the applicants who are most likely to succeed in the position. For example, if the job advertisement states that the position requires three years managerial experience, use the exact phrase "managerial experience" in your letter.

5. Stay Professional

Use proper business letter formatting, and avoid abbreviations and Internet slang. Sending your cover letter in an email is not permission to relax on regular business protocol.

6. Share New Information

The hiring manager already has your résumé. Include new information in your cover letter. Add interesting facts to keep the hiring professional reading to the end. Tell a story of who you are and how you can benefit the company.

7. Avoid Being Wordy

Although storytelling is good, keep it brief. Clear, concise sentences that are easy to read at a fast pace work best in a cover letter. If a sentence is not necessary to make your point, delete it. Three or four paragraphs is usually long enough to introduce yourself.

8. End With a Call to Action

A great cover letter always ends with a clear call to action. For best results, keep the ball in your own court. State that you will call to follow up next week or on Friday. Then make sure you do follow up.

9. Proofread

Do not rely on spell check. Reread your letter a few times, and if grammar and spelling are not your strong points, have someone else proofread it, too.

10. Keep the Letter in the Body

Never include your cover letter as an email attachment. Keep it in the body of the letter so that it is easy for a busy professional to read.

A carefully crafted cover letter shows your passion for the position, your ability to do the job and your professional demeanor. Keep these cover letter tips in mind, make sure your contact details are up-to-date, and follow through to get the job you desire.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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