Cover Letter Tips and Guidelines
A cover letter is a personalized summary of your intentions for seeking a specific position. It informs an employer of your accomplishments, educational and personal background, work experience, and interests. Since your cover letter is often seen first, it is important that it be well-written and targeted to a specific employer. It is also important that a cover letter accompany EVERY resume you send.
A good cover letter should detail the following to an employer:
- Who you are
- Why you’re applying
- What you have done
Top 10 Do’s When Preparing Your Cover Letter
- Customize the letter to a specific job opening and company.
- Research the firm and the industry through the Internet, trade publications and the library. Within the letter, demonstrate your knowledge of the field and the position's requirements, and explain why your background meets the organization's needs.
- Be careful not to rehash your resume in the cover letter. Instead, focus on key aspects of your background that relate directly to the job opportunity.
- Address the letter to the person hiring for the position. Verify and double-check the spelling of the name and the person's title.
- Take advantage of your computer's spell check function, then proofread carefully. Read your resume aloud or ask a friend to proof it.
Top 10 Don’ts When Preparing Your Cover Letter
- Use a general cover letter. Take the time to customize it, the reader will notice.
- Ramble. State clearly why the organization interests you and how your experience will benefit the company.
- Use flowery, rambling, fluffy, pretentious, showy language. Think short and snappy!
- Comment negatively about your current or past employer(s).
- Close by stating that you will wait for them to call. Be proactive and say you will follow up soon to confirm that your resume was received and to discuss the possibility of meeting.
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