Cover Letter Advice

When you think of applying for a job, what is the first thing that comes to your mind about the most vital tool you would have to use? Ninety-nine percent of the people would answer the CV. What about you? Well, the correct answer however, is the cover letter.

The cover letter is the most critical tool you have. This is the first thing that the prospective employer will see, and make his/her first impression. Hence, whether the door will close or open depends on your introduction.

Ten Dos In The Cover Letter:

  • Address the letter to a particular person. Generalized letters sound phony and clich? most of the time.
  • Format it correctly and have it reflect your eye for detail and aesthetics; do not use too much underlining, bold or italics in the body ? it actually distracts the person from the main subject; use scan friendly font and formatting.
  • Have it printed on a laser printer or electronic typewriter.
  • Use high quality paper ? you could use a color other than white, but these should be only extremely light pastel shades of other colors.
  • Be very painstaking about spelling and grammar; ensure that you write correct English (or any language your CV would be in) and it has the right punctuation, paragraph style, etc.
  • Have the cover letter summarize the contents of the CV and why you think you are the best fit for the job for which you are applying.
  • Use easy and engaging language. The person who reads it should feel you are 'talking' with him or her.
  • Use it to get things rolling ? ask for an interview, contact opportunity, etc whereby you could have the job search move to the next logical step.
  • Have your contact information clearly mentioned in the cover letter; give accurate phone numbers and email ids.
  • Have all your CVs forwarded with one cover letter attached.

Five Don'ts In The Cover Letter:

  • Do not mass print cover letters; they are not of any use this way ? you are just wasting resources and your time.
  • Do not write a cover letter longer than two paragraphs. A long letter would be thrown aside unread when there are hundreds to scan through.
  • Do not use a dot matrix dot printer for printing your cover letter, because the quality is very poor and gives a bad impression about its sender.
  • Do not use fluorescent or bright color paper as this would indicate an over-dramatic person or poor taste.
  • Do not sent a cover letter without spell checking it or checking the grammar thoroughly; there is nothing worse for your job search than a letter full of spelling and grammatical errors.

If you are careful and orchestrate a focused cover letter, this will most often land you the interview you are looking for. A well-written cover letter is the master key to the job search. Use it well.