|25 Golden Rules to Effective Cover Letter Writing - Part 1|
Following is a list of what we believe are the 25 keys to writing an effective cover letter to complement your resume.
1) Determine what the employer is looking for. "Determine the need and meet that need." Depending on how you learned about the job opening, you should enquire further into what the employer really wants. If you learned about the position through networking, ask questions in terms of what the position entails, the industry, the employer's work philosophy, etc. If you found out about the opening through a job posting, read the job description carefully and make sure that you address all the requirements of the job in your application. Don't forget to read "between the lines". Some things, although not specifically stated, are implied and should be taken into consideration.
2) Decide whether or not you are truly interested in the position. More often than not, the way you draft your cover letter will reflect your level of interest in the position. If you are truly interested in the position, you will take the time to make your application perfect. If you have reservations about the position, you will probably not produce something up to that level. If that is the case, find out why you have reservations about the opening and decide whether or not you still want to give it a try. That way, you won't waste your time sending out applications that, in any event, will have a low rate of success.
3) Find out to whom you should address the cover letter. It is always a good idea, if possible, to address your cover letter to a specific person, as opposed to using generic language such as "To whom it may concern". Addressing your cover letter to a specific person will help you relate to that person. Also, if the name of the recruiter was not mentioned in the job posting, the fact that you were able to find out his or her name will show that you took the initiative and will demarcate you from other applicants.
4) Address how you found out about the position. Recruiters are often curious as to how job applicants found out about the job opening. If you address this in your cover letter, you will probably have answered a question they had in mind and will add some context to your application. This is a bonus to the recruiter.
5) Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. The person that will be reading your cover letter probably knows nothing about you. You have to give some background about yourself in order to ease into the substantive part of your cover letter. That does not mean that you should spend half a page discussing who you are, but you should at least answer some basic questions that people would normally like to know when meeting someone new. For instance, "where are you currently working?" or, if you are a new graduate, "where did you study?".
6) Customize your cover letter to each position that you are applying to. Each opening is an opportunity. You don't need 10 jobs. You only need one. If you approach each job application as being "the one" and spend the time necessary to put the odds on your side, your success rate will increase. Tailor your cover letter to each position that you are applying to. Sending a standard cover letter to someone is like talking to him or her while looking away. You would never do that in a social setting, so why would you do it in writing? If you are interested in the opening, then apply for the position. If you are not interested in it, then abstain yourself. Don't go half way.
7) Limit your cover letter to what is essential. A cover letter can be a very powerful tool. When a recruiter picks up a cover letter, he or she tells the applicant: "This is your chance to make your case for an interview. Show me what you've got." If you meet someone in person and he or she tells you that, what would you do?
8) Keep your cover letter short and to the point. Recruiters have a limited attention span, especially when they have to review a lot of applications. At this stage, they "owe" nothing to the candidates that are sending in their applications. Actually, for them to retain an application is to do that applicant a favour. Writing a long cover letter is like trying to drive from A to B with a tank half full, the tank being the recruiter's attention span and "B" being the end of your cover letter. Keep your letter concise enough so that the reader remains interested throughout.
9) Don't repeat the information that is provided in your resume. Instead, complement that information. A cover letter is meant to complement a resume. The recruiter does not need to read the same information twice. Your resume already discusses your qualifications from an objective standpoint. You need to add some subjectivity to your application. That is what the cover letter is for.
10) Be future-oriented. Referring to your qualifications or past accomplishments does not necessarily show the recruiter that you can do the job. You have to relate whatever you did in the past to what you can bring with you to the new position.Click here to see Part 2.
|Cover Letter Writing|
|5 Tips for Cover Letter Success|
|Inside Secrets on How To Write a Great Cover Letter|
|Do I Have to Send a Cover Letter When Applying Online?|
|When a Cover Letter Is Needed|
|What to Include in a Cover Letter|
|25 Golden Rules to Effective Cover Letter Writing|
|Tips on How to Write Effective Cover Letters|
|Cover Letters: Why They're Important and How to Use Yours to Make an Impression|
|Cover Letters and How to Write One|
|Cover Letter Structure for New Graduates|
|Sample Cover Letter Opening Statements|
|Sample Cover Letter Closing Statements|
|*** More Articles on Cover Letter Writing|