Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

January 25, 2010 at 11:02 pm (PRCA 3711) (, , )

As my time here at Georgia Southern University comes to an end and I am experiencing the “dreaded” job searching process, I am finding that more companies are requiring cover letters along with your resumes. At first, I had no idea what content needs to be in your cover letter. I know this your chance to “sell yourself” or “make yourself stand out,” but what is the best or most efficient way of accomplishing that task?

My mom’s best friend works in the human resource department at a bank and she is who I went to when writing my first cover letter. She said first off, if you are not physically meeting with a person face-to-face, always write a cover letter because it makes you stand out among those who simply just send in a resume and it helps introduce yourself and gives more insight about the type of person you are than that of  a resume. One of the most important points I feel she made would be to show the company you are applying at what you could do benefit them if they were to hire you. Also, add additional skills you feel are important and that would make you excel in the position you are applying for that were not included in your resumé.

I refered to QuintCareers.com for some “Dos and Don’ts” of cover letter writing. Some were very similar to the tips my mom’s good friend had given me previously.

  • DON’T ever send your resume without a cover letter.
  • DO address your letter to named person.
  • DO keep your cover letter brief.
  • DON’T rehash your resume.
  • DO avoid negativity.
  • DO use action verbs.
  • DON’T use cliches such as “Enclosed please find my resume.”

So now that I know what to do and what not to do, what information should my cover letter contain? Below I have listed content you may want to include in your cover letter. I found the information on this topic at Accent Resume Writing’s website.

  1. What position are you applying for?
  2. How did you learn about the position at this company?
  3. Why are YOU perfect for the position?
  4. Who will contact who?

Coverletterinfo.com has split a cover letter into sections in an article called The Killer Cover Letter. The sections each have a goal that needs to be accomplished in that particular part of the cover letter. I have shown you each section below and given a couple of details regarding each one.

  • Attention: this might be an obvious one. You need to grab potential employers attention in order to get an interview within their company. Just as you would start off a paper with an “attention grabber,” you should start your cover letter the same way.  You want to grab your reader’s attention.
  • Interest: Now, you have to keep your audience’s interest. Show them what you can do for them. You could even briefing describe a success story you have had that is related to this job position.
  • Conviction/Desire: Emphasize what you can bring to the table (skills, etc.)
  • Action: Your overall goal is a job interview. Make contacting you easy by including when you will be available and how to reach. Include a businesslike email address.

After reviewing several sites and articles regarding cover letters and ways to succeed, I am feeling a little bit better and more confident in writing cover letters in the future.

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