Monday, July 02, 2007

Cover Letter Tips and Tricks

A cover letter is recommended when sending a resume to a hiring manager or recruiter. The letter allows the job seeker to tailor their resume to the open position and start a dialogue with the hiring authority. Here are ten tips for more powerful cover letters.
  1. Begin your cover letter with a compelling statement. Rather than starting your cover letter with a reference to the position you are applying for, write a statement that aligns your candidacy with the organization, industry, or job function you are targeting.
  2. Minimize the use of the word "I". Vary your sentences to keep the reader engaged.
  3. Ask for the interview. Create a strong call to action in your letter by expressing your interest in the company and requesting an in-person interview.
  4. Match your qualifications to the requirements of the job. Create a cover letter that addresses each job requirement point by point. The stronger the match you can make between the two, the greater the likelihood of securing the interview.
  5. Build rapport with your audience. Discuss relevant business issues and ask thought provoking questions to show your reader that you recognize their needs.
  6. Include a famous quote to make your point. Incorporating quotes that are relevant to the topics discussed in your letter is a great way to create an interesting and memorable document.
  7. Keep the letter to one page. Keep your cover letters short and use short paragraphs and bulleted lists to keep the reader's attention and make it easy for them to determine the match between your qualifications and their open job.
  8. Address the hiring authority by name. The likelihood of building rapport with the reader and validating your interest in the job is increased when the inside cover address refers to the specific person rather than "Dear Sir". Whenever possible, sleuth around for additional information on the hiring manager so you can personalize your letter.
  9. Reference the position you are applying for. Be sure to mention the job title and job number in the body of your letter as well as in your email subject line. Many hiring authorities request this information and your inability to follow their instructions could jeopardize your candidacy.
  10. Sign your name. In this age of email, sometimes people forget to do this. If you are sending a letter regular mail, include your handwritten signature. If your correspondence is via email, create an electronic signature.



  • Dear Barbara,
    Very nice checklist for cover
    letters. Please consider adding--
    state the date
    confirm the precise spelling of the name of the addressee...

    Thank you.

    Dan Eustace

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:34 AM  

  • Dan,

    Great points! In addition, hiring managers have told me that they sometimes get cover letters from candidates with the wrong company name because the candidate sent out a mass mailing and forgot to change the company name to match the hiring manager. Ouch!

    By Blogger Barbara Safani, at 12:02 PM  

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