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How to write a great cover letter

Posted: 02.06.2014
Keeping with the sales letter as your general premise in writing your cover letter, think about an experience where you’ve written or listened to advertising or marketing material. Were you impressed by the length and volume of the information? Likely not. This same thought should be in your head as you put together what you want to include in your cover letter. Too much can be just as bad as not enough.

Remember, you’re not there for the person to bluntly tell you to get to the point and they’re probably not going to skip around your letter trying to find the golden nuggets; they’re just going to plain skip your letter, and you resume, altogether. 

Remember, hiring managers and anyone else in an organization who is the first to receive your documentation isn’t going to say, “This cover letter is boring, let me get right to the resume.” 

Obviously, you need to incorporate some boilerplate items as well as specifics involving the position that is being offered. Don’t forget you email address and telephone contact information; you’d be surprised how often people can overlook this because it’s on their resume. Refer to the job opening you’re applying for; hiring managers may have multiple postings running concurrently and this will help them keep your information organized correctly.

Where you want to impress them is in mentioning your knowledge of the company and how well you will fit into their environment. Specify how you can help with the issues this position is intended to address. Give an example of how you have helped a former or current employer increase the bottom line or solve a complicated problem or dealt with an impending or actual disaster.

Close with letting them know your availability timetable and asking for an in person meeting (an interview). That’s all they need to know: You’re applying for the position, you know about the company and have done your homework, you’ve had successes that mirror what they seem to be looking for and you’re ready to meet with them to talk it over further. They don’t need employment, education or training history, that’s on your resume. They don’t need to know your hobbies, they’ll ask at the interview if they’re interested. And they certainly don’t need to know that you love cheese steak sandwiches and that’s why you’re so excited to be applying for this position in their Philadelphia offices. Keep that to yourself.

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