Don't be mistaken, please don't single out your resume or CV as your
unique ticket to more job interviews. It's your cover letter that may
matter even more. Your cover letter is THE marketing tool to make clear
to an employer why you stand out in the crowd. It could be your "foot
in the company's door" and deliver you that job interview that simply
changes your career.
10 tips for writing your cover letter:
Your cover letter should be a 1 pager, following business
letter format, which includes margins that are about 1, standard font
10-12 point obviously without any grammatical or spelling errors. For
hard copies, print your letter on good quality, plain paper that
matches your resume and envelope. If you send your cover letter via
email, you can write either a brief notice that introduces your
attached full cover letter and resume, or use a modified cover letter
for your email with only your CV attached. Both ways are equally
A letter should always be
addressed to an individual by name, with the correct title and address.
If you don't have this information, call the company and ask for it.
Titles should also be used in the salutation as: "Dear Mr. Smith, Dear
Dr. March. "Dear Mr." without a last name, or "Dear Manager" is lifeless. First names should
not be used in the address and salutation, unless you know the addressee
- Open with an attention-grabbing first sentence
can only make a first impression once. That's so true for your cover letter.
If you start with a sentence that grabs the reader's attention, it will
almost guarantee that your cover letter and resume will get a closer look.
Remember: less is more. Focus on the
essentials of your message, and transfer any detail to your resume.
1 page, really, with generous margins. Paragraphs should be limited to
4-8 lines. The first line of a paragraph should clearly state the
message of the paragraph
Tailor your letter to position and organization
yourself: what can you do for the employer, how can the organization
benefit from your skills. If you don't know this, do some research.
Mention the particular aspects of the company that appeal to you, but
don't exaggerate your interest and qualifications. Focus more on what
you have to offer to the company rather than what they have to offer
Style: it must be you
letter should be vibrating enthusiasm and passion for the position you
seek. While you'll want to keep the tone and language professional,
stay yourself. Don't write a too formal letter, it will make it harder
for you to express your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Simple
direct sentences are preferable. And always use a concise, direct
Request for action at the end
you want to be invited for a job interview, you'll have to ask. So
request the action you want your new employer to take. End your your
cover letter with an enthusiastic request:"I would really like the opportunity
for a personal interview.", or less direct:"I look forward to being
interviewed at your earliest convenience. Thank you so much for this
opportunity." Sincerely, and then your name.
- Proofread your letter
Read your letter out loud
to catch typos or awkward phrasing. It's a common thing to do for
editors because a typo is easily made, so check and double check. Let
someone else check your letter as well. You would never forgive
yourself a day later, checking on your copy of your cover letter, and find out that
there's an error in it. That error could ruin your success.
- Follow up your cover letter
If you didn't hear
anything within a week after you have send you cover letter, follow up
with preferably a phone call, or if you really can't get in touch with
the employer, send a follow up cover letter. Following up your cover
letter can double your chance for success.
Keep track of your letters
a file that holds copies of your cover letters, and make notes about
any correspondence / conversations between you and the employer. You
don't want to mix up potential employers, that would be embarrassing -
an easy admin job can keep you from blowing you chances.