Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ten Tips for Better Cover Letters

Are you struggling to create a powerful cover letter to capture the attention of a hiring authority or recruiter? Here are ten tips for writing better 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 you 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 an 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 your letter is discussing is a great way to create a memorable and impactful letter.
  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. Don't forget to sign your name. If you are sending a letter regular mail, include your signature. If your correspondence is via email, create an electronic signature.



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