Many people dread writing cover letters, and some are under the mistaken belief that they do not matter. Think of your cover letter as the front cover of your marketing brochure. You are the product. You want to convince the prospective employer to open your brochure (flip the page to your resume) to further explore what you have to offer.
A well-written cover letter ranks you above other applicants and may mean the difference between hearing crickets and getting a call for an interview. This is an opportunity for you to give context to your resume. To some employer’s the cover letter is one of the most influential pieces of the application. Errors in your cover letter may mean that they do not flip the page to read your resume. A cover letter is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing and communication skills.
The Don’ts of Cover Letters
- An effective cover letter is NOT a repeat of your resume.
- DO NOT write a generic cover letter.
- DO NOT write about what you are seeking. It’s not about you, it’s about the value that you will bring.
- DO NOT use abbreviations, acronyms or informal language.
The Do’s of Cover Letters
- An effective cover letter IS concisely written and is TAILORED to the job description.
- Capture the reader’s attention, by highlighting your relevant skills, accomplishments, competencies and the value that you will bring the company.
- Explain what you can do for the company.
- A high-quality cover letter is reflective, complete, error-free, and clearly articulate why you are the best candidate for the position.
- Keep your cover letter to one page.
- Even if you are applying online, your cover letter should include your name and contact information, as well we the company’s name and address.
- DO proofread multiple times. Print it off and read your cover letter out loud to identify syntax errors. Ask a friend or family member to proofread.