November 8, 2015
The cover letter is an important job search tool. Its purpose is to attract attention to you and your suitability for the job. The cover letter also is where you state the reasons you are interested in the job or company.
When writing your cover letter, keep these tips in mind:
1. Use the KISSS principle: Keep It Short, Simple and Specific — no more than a few paragraphs, no more than one page.
2. Only type your cover letter unless the employer requests a handwritten cover letter, which is increasingly rare these days. Be sure to comply if the employer specifically asks for one or the other.
3. Write the way you would speak. Avoid stuffy and formal words and phrases. Instead, try: “I’m keenly interested in and believe I have the qualifications you’re looking for.”
4. The contents of your cover letter should flow in this order:
First paragraph: Here you need to indicate your “career objective” – the position you are applying for. State why you are applying for the job. What is it about the job or company that attracts you.
Second paragraph: Emphasize the specific knowledge and skills that make you a strong candidate for the job.
Don’t repeat points contained in the resume such as: “I have a Word Data Processing diploma and three years of experience.” Instead, say: “I’m well-qualified for the job based on my seven years related experience.” Then emphasize particular strengths you have to offer the job. For example:
“Your description of the ‘ideal’ candidate highlighted enthusiasm and strong interpersonal communication skills. These are strengths I would bring to the position. Additionally, I’ve frequently been commended for my effectiveness in dealing with difficult customer situations.”
Closing paragraph: Describe in assertive, clear language what you expect will happen or what you plan to do next.
a) If you’re responding to an advertisement: “I look forward to meeting you in an interview to discuss my suitability for this position.”
b) If you’re sending an unsolicited resume to a company: “I will contact you early in the week of June 12 to set up an appointment with you. I look forward to discussing possible employment with (name of company).”
5. Use a good quality paper.
6. Make sure your letter contains no spelling or grammatical errors.
7. Be original and show enthusiasm.
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