Before starting on your resume or cover letter, make sure to read these important points.
- Write your cover letter to a specific person, and not “To Whom it May Concern.” If this is not possible write the letter to a title such as “Dear Human Resources Director.”
- Discuss your career goals and qualifications specifically and concisely.
- Include examples and evidence to support what you write in your cover letter.
- Be clear and concise.
- Don’t write with a passive voice – use active verbs!
- Write a cover letter that gives a positive and accurate portrayal of who you are.
- Avoid jargon.
- If you are aware of potential concerns, address them briefly in your cover letter.
- Pay attention to the little details – the recruiter will use your cover letter to evaluate you as a potential employee. Don’t send a cover letter or resume with misspellings, typos, and grammatical errors.
Cover Letter Writing Process
Writing a cover letter can be a daunting task – especially for a less-experienced writer. Fortunately, there is a process that you can follow to make cover letter writing easy.
First, you need to determine who your audience will be. In the case of a cover letter it is usually a potential employer, but it might also be a friend who works at the company. Many job seekers make the mistake of sending out the same cover letter to multiple employers. I’ve even seen cases where the sender forgot to change the name of the company in the body of the letter! Please don’t make that mistake. It’s all about personalizing the letter to your audience. This will capture their interest and grab their attention.
After you have determined who will receive your letter, decide what you want to communicate to them. I like creating a quick list of the main points that I want to include in my cover letter letters. A great way to start is with the job description (if provided). This gives you an idea of what the employer is looking for. Match up your experience and skills with the experience and skills the company wants and use this information in your cover letter writing process.
Now you’re ready to draft your cover letter. If you have difficulties with finding the right words and phrases you should consider purchasing a cover letter writing package to help you get everything finished quickly. As you write your cover letter, use the standardized business letter format. Once the first draft is complete, read through your letter and review its contents. Are you clearly conveying the message that you wanted the reader to hear? I like to give the letter to a friend and have them read through it. Ask them what your main point was. If they don’t get it right, go back and revise the letter until it clearly communicates your intentions.