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Aaah...the dreaded cover letter. Or is it? Cover letters are actually a great way to set yourself apart from the rest if you write it correctly.

Cover letters allow you to actually get your personalized message across to the hiring manager or possible interviewer. The key is to be brief and direct...just like a resume...the person on the other end will want to quickly read your cover letter...so make sure you don't write a short story.

Use the cover letter to peak the interest of the reader. The purpose here is to get the reader interested so that he/she will want to examine your resume.

Keep reading below for some of the finer points to writing effective cover letters. Use a combination of these tips and fine tune your cover letter for maximum results!

Tips For Writing A Cover Letter

  • Each letter of application should be original, typed in business form standard size paper, and directed to a particular individual by name and title, preferably to the person who has the authority to hire you.
  • Your letter should serve as an introduction to your resume. Draw attention to a particular skill or accomplishment that has meaning to the organization. Its inclusion in the cover letter communicates that the writer has researched the organization, knows the organization's needs and can fulfill those needs. Limit your letter to a few paragraphs. If you have done considerable research on an organization, you may want to make the letter longer.
  • Use simple direct language and proper grammar. Clearly state why the organization is of interest to you. Let your letter reflect your personality, but avoid appearing too aggressive or humorous.
  • Close with a statement that indicates some action -- preferably yours. You control the communication when you indicate that you will call the reader's office to set up and appointment at a convenient time rather than to wait for the reader to contact you.
  • Proofread your letter for errors! Keep a copy of all correspondence.


Cover Letter Writing Suggestions

  • Write to communicate, not to impress
  • Get to the point
  • Be active, not passive
  • If you mean I, say I
  • Use short, familiar words
  • Use contractions
  • Go on a "which" hunt
  • Ask questions
  • Be specific


Basic Rules For Good Cover Letters

  • Personalize each letter to the interviewer and to the organization. Don't use a blanket form letter for all letters of inquiry.
  • Open your letter with a strong sentence that would make the reader take notice. Some students compliment the person or organization based on information they have gathered ahead of time. For example referring to the interviewer's recent published work or to the organization's newest grant is a great way to get them interested in you.
  • Appeal in your letter to the self-interest of the person to whom you are writing. Include clues that indicate that hiring you will lead to higher production, greater efficiency etc..
  • If at all possible, include some challenging thoughts that will cause employers to feel that discussion with you would be worthwhile even if they really hadn't been planning to hire anybody right now.
  • Keep your letter short to hold the reader's interest and to save you time.


About The Author

Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at www.WorkTree.com. Nathan has over 10 years of experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at www.WorkTree.com for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.

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