Friday, March 8, 2013

Get to the Point! 5 Best Practices for a Better Cover Letter

by Luke Roney

Not everyone believes you should include a cover letter with every resume.
Some say busy hiring managers just discard a cover letter and jump straight to the resume. Others insist a cover letter is an opportunity to show how the skills on your resume match the job requirements — and build rapport with a prospective employer.
Despite the differing opinions, people in both camps agree on one point: If a prospective employer requests a cover letter, you should provide one.
Consider the following when drafting your next cover letter:

1. Make Your Letter Visually Appealing

Before anyone ever reads your cover letter, they are going scan the document. If your cover letter even looks daunting, you’ve already lost the game.
Long sentences and unbroken blocks of text are turnoffs for readers – especially hiring managers who spend their days slogging through cover letter after boring  cover letter. Your sentences should be short. Paragraphs (there should only be three to five) should be separated by a space (no need to indent). Consider using bullet points when listing your qualifications and accomplishments to further break up the text and make your qualifications more scannable.

2. Write an Original

Drafting a generic form letter may seem like a time-saver, but a cover letter template will end up hurting you in the end – when you lose the interview because you failed to be sincere. Write a fresh cover letter for every job opportunity. Closely read the job posting and tailor the letter to match. Use terminology similar to that in the posting and adopt a similar tone (some job postings, for instance, are strictly business, while others are more conversational). Be original… and show will fit in.

3. Keep Your Writing Relevant

A cover letter should not be a mere catalog of your skills and experience – that’s what your resume is. Nor should it be your life story – a recruiter will simply pass. Use a cover letter to show you are the right person for the position by matching your qualifications with the specific requirements listed in the job posting. Use real-life examples, quantify your achievements and be specific to the task at hand.

Tips 4,5, and Complete Article

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