En Route: A Career Blog

Cover Letter Savvy

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: February 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

Many of us have experience writing a resume to use on online job boards or to email a hiring manager.

Few of us are as experienced in writing a cover letter.

A Few Tips on Making the Most of Your Cover Letter

  • Use the same heading, font and general style that you do with your resume. This might not seem obvious, but it’s important. It maintains consistency of presentation and makes your ‘employment package’ professional. Therefore, if you use Times New Roman font in your resume, don’t use Arial in your cover letter.
  • Brevity is essential. Never write a cover letter that’s more than one page in length. No hiring manager or recruiter wants to read that much data. They expect you to tell them, in very few words, what position you’re applying for and why you’re the ideal candidate.
  • Address your letter to an individual, preferably the hiring manager or recruiter. Never write ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or worse – ‘To Whom It May Concern’. You might as well write ‘Dear Occupant’. Failure to use an individual’s name shows lack of interest in the company and poor attention to detail. If you don’t know the name, find out. Google the company or give them a call and ask.
  • Don’t copy your resume word for word. If the hiring authority finds the exact same data in each, they’ll be irritated because you’re not telling them anything new. Provide fresh details in your cover letter that paint you as the ideal candidate for the position.

Don’t Forget These Important Points

  • Never begin with a negative. I’ve seen countless letters that state, “I know I don’t have any experience in this _______ (field, industry, job – fill in the blank); but…” Trust me, no one will get past the ‘but’. Don’t apply for positions that you aren’t qualified for.

pdf

(Photo: IconFinder)

  • Consider sending it as a PDF. A very important tip I found at Forbes in their article “6 Secrets to Writing a Great Cover Letter“. PDFs can be opened by Adobe Reader, which nearly everyone has. If you send a Word document, especially the newer version – docx – those who haven’t upgraded their software may not be able to open the document.

Cover letter writing is a skill. If done correctly it provides a strong first impression of you as the perfect candidate. If done poorly, your resume may not be read.

ResumeEdge specializes in cover letters, resume writing, resume editing and interview coaching through JobInterviewEdge. Our certified writers have decades of experience in 40+ industries. They can craft a cover letter that will wow a hiring manager and compel that individual to read your resume.