Cover Letter Writing Tips

When writing your resume cover letter keep in mind that the reviewer is only interested in one thing: the facts. Do not think of your cover letter as an autobiography. It should be brief and to the point. The purpose of the cover letter (and resume) should be to demonstrate that you meet or exceed the requirements listed in the job description. It should convey that you’re interested in the position and that you’re available to accept the position, if offered.

When writing the resume cover letter avoid negatives. A cover letter is not the place to explain why you left or are leaving an employer, why there are gaps in your employment dates, etc. These “negatives” are best delivered in person during the interview so that your personality can counter them.

Try to avoid a salary history in the cover letter. Even if the position specifically asks for your salary history, providing this information may work against you. If the job ad specifically says that resumes without a salary history will not be considered, give a historical salary range and state that your salary requirements are flexible based on the opportunity the position will provide.

Spend time thinking about the layout of your letter. Make sure that it is clean and easy to scan. Keep in mind, the reviewer of your cover letter and resume has hundreds (if not thousands) of cover letters and resumes to look at. Your cover letter should not be a summary of your resume; instead, consider it an introduction and an argument for why you are the best candidate for the company and specific position.

Above all, avoid the generic cover letter you get from books. If you are not sure how to write a targeted and personal cover letter, we suggest using a professional cover letter writing service. The services are fairly inexpensive – professional cover letter writing services start at about $30.

PLEASE do NOT follow the advice of poorly written resume and cover letter books and websites that advise on using platitudes and clichés in your cover letter. Resume reviewers do this for a living. They know that almost every candidate promises “excellent written and verbal communication skills”, and the ability to “think outside the box” and “juggle multiple tasks”. The point here is to be different and stand out. The goal is to demonstrate your written communication skills by writing a personal cover letter – Cutting and pasting a phrase from a cover letter or resume book is not impressive.

Your cover letter should be addressed to a specific person – avoid the “Dear Sir or Madam”. Form letters indicate that you are either just sending your resume to every employer in the area or you have not made an effort to learn more about the company.
You usually can find an appropriate contact name at the company fairly easily. Go to their company website, and search the “about us” pages for names of individuals to address your cover letter and resume to. It takes a few seconds and it will insure your letter gets into the right hands.

Still Stuck? Try the Cover Letter Creator. It’s a tool that will guide you though the process of creating a personalized cover letter.

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