Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Art of the Cover Letter

In this age of e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging, it seems that the art of the cover letter has been lost. I admit there are many HR professionals who don’t read cover letters, but for the ones that do, the cover letter can make quite an impact and not only put you in the yes pile, but keep you at the top of the yes pile. Then when that HR person passes the stack of highly weeded resumes to a hiring manager, you have a decent chance that they will read that cover letter, giving you a better chance of getting the call for an interview and having that hiring manager look forward to that interview.

So here are my Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts.

Do write a cover letter!
Do state what job you are applying for and how you heard about the job.
Do highlight your experience.
Do show you know something about the company you are applying with.
Do customize your cover letter for each position you apply for.

Don’t go over 5 paragraphs.
Don’t share the reason for leaving your last job.
Don’t share personal information, such as the number of children, your age, martial status, religion etc.
Don’t talk about hobbies or interests that are not relevant to the position.
Don’t be afraid to write a unique cover letter.
Don’t use an obviously cookie cutter cover letter.

Cover letters are an art and a great tool in landing an interview. If you are looking for work and you have mastered the cover letter your odds of getting an interview do go up, so take the time and write one.

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