Resume Cover Letter Tips
By Meaghan Marshall, Oct 14 2013 02:29AM
Every resume should be accompanied by a well written cover letter. An effective resume cover letter will create interest and an impression of competence enticing the recruiter to continue reading and review your resume.
Writing a compelling cover letter is not easy, and is often the more neglected of job search correspondence. The resume tends to receive most of the focus and the cover letter ends up bland, generic and unconvincing. By putting more effort into your cover letter you can make a huge difference to your job search success.
One of the excuses commonly made for neglecting the resume cover letter is the belief that potential employers do not bother reading cover letters when screening applications. It is absolutely correct that some potential employers will not read cover letters choosing to move straight to the resume. The trouble is knowing which employers this applies to. Many will still read your cover letter before your resume and some may read cover letters once an initial cull has been made via resume screening. You might get through the first cull based on your resume but get rejected when they read your dull, terribly written, unconvincing cover letter.
Another reason you should include a resume cover letter is that you can communicate things in a cover letter you cannot in a resume. A well written cover letter can demonstrate a clear link between your abilities, skills and experiences and the needs of the employer. Using your cover letter you can express personality and demonstrate your enthusiasm something much more difficult to achieve in a resume.
Here we provide our cover letter tips and advice for an effective cover letter that will create a positive first impression:
COVER LETTER TIPS
• Send your cover letter to a specific person rather that generic title. If the job advertisement doesn’t include the name of the person you are applying to, go to the extra effort to find out who the hiring manager is.
• Once you have a name make sure you spell it correctly.
• If despite your best efforts, you are still unable to obtain a name then you may use“Dear Hiring Manager” or similar.
• Begin by stating the job you are applying for and if replying to an ad, include the job title and reference/job number.
• If enquiring about potential work, briefly include your current career circumstances and professional abilities. Be specific about the type of work you are interested in.
• The most important of cover letter tips is to make sure your cover letter is targeted specifically to the job you are applying for.
• Include a brief explanation of your qualifications and career and how they match the job requirements.
• Include details that show you understand the job requirements and industry well.
• Describe your skills using examples to support your claims. Address the requirements of the position as described in job advertisement or position description
• Don’t go over the top with adjectives, clichés and embellished self-promotion. An effective cover letter is succinct uses short sentences, simple language and provides evidence to back up your claims.
• Use your cover letter to explain anything in your resume that isn't obvious or any concerns you think the employer might have. You can use your cover letter for example to explain gaps in employment.
• Refer to your attached resume
• Request an interview
• Provide your phone number
• Thank the recruiter for their time
• If you have addressed your letter to the person my name sign off with 'Yours sincerely'. If you do not know the person’s name you will sign your letter off 'Yours faithfully'.
FORMAT AND STYLE
• Make sure the format of your resume cover letter matches consistently with your resume.
• Write your cover letter in business format however use your own words. Your cover letter should reveal some of your personality while still conforming to business rules.
• An effective cover letter will be just two to three paragraphs long, single spaced with a blank line between paragraphs.
• Don't right-justify the text of your cover letter. It can make it more challenging to read.
• Keep sentences short
• Avoid abbreviations, jargon and slang
• Font should be comfortable to read, match your resume and be 10-12 point
FINAL COVER LETTER TIPS
• Make sure you proof read and have at least one other person proof read your cover letter before submitting.
• An effective cover letter uses only positive, confident language.
• Remember the most important of cover letter tips; an effective cover letter is targeted to a particular job and focus on the needs of the employer. This means demonstrating exactly how you match the requirements of the role as described in the job description.
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