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JOB SEARCH SERIES: Cover Letter…

In Business, Human Resources on July 23, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

How to Get the Job Done Right When You Want to Get a Job…

 

Cover Letter:

The cover letter is your first opportunity to sell yourself as the right candidate for the job. This is the place to make an immediate, good impression on your prospective employer – similar to arriving well-dressed, confident, and poised for an interview. An effective cover letter will set you apart from the other applicants before the employer even takes a look at your resume

Your cover letter must be unique to each employer, and it should follow a basic three-part format: introduction, body, and closing. Keep the length of both the introduction and conclusion to one paragraph each, and the body to one or two paragraphs. A long-winded cover letter will lose your reader’s attention, so keep it short and make every word count.

Introduction: Begin by stating why you are writing and why you are interested in this particular employer. Do enough research before you apply so that you can deftly express an understanding of the employer’s goals. Then, specify both the position for which you are applying and where you heard about the job opening. If you are writing because of a personal referral – someone known to the reader – then state that in the first sentence (be sure you have permission to use her/his name). The first paragraph must attract enough attention to make the employer want to read further.

Body:  You must sell yourself and your abilities in the body paragraphs. Present only the most relevant information and communicate how valuable your skills and experiences are to the employer. At the same time, balance confidence with humility. Portray yourself as the ideal candidate by explaining how your professional experience directly relates to that employer.

Closing: Avoid endings that lack assertiveness. This is where you should propose taking the next step in the application process. Reassert your interest in the position and arrange for a specific day/week when you will contact the employer to set up a meeting.  Write your letter as though you expect the meeting to occur and always remember to thank the reader at the end.

Here are some general tips for all letters: Make your letter graphically pleasing—print it on the same, high-quality stationery as your resume. Make it perfect—that means no typos, no misspellings, and no factual errors. Keep copies of every letter you send out—when making a follow-up phone call, it’s helpful to have your letter in front of you. Finally, send the letter to the appropriate person—find out who is in charge of the department you are interested in and address the letter to them.

Stay tuned as the Summer Job Search Series continues: next week, it’s tips on how to answer that long-awaited-phone call – the Phone Interview!

Check out last week’s post: JOB SEARCH: Resume.

On the Job Search,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions

6 Responses to “JOB SEARCH SERIES: Cover Letter…”

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