Do’s and Don’ts: Make Your Cover Letter Count

When applying for jobs, cover letters are a very important part of your application packet. Don’t take writing these letters lightly. Instead of writing one cover letter that you send out to every employer, you should personalize a letter for each job. Also, a cover letter allows you to direct the reader’s attention to aspects of your resume that are most relevant. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts when writing your next cover letters.

DO your research –

Be sure to research prospective employers and demonstrate that knowledge in your cover letter. This not only shows you have a genuine interest in the job, but also shows that you have initiative.

DON’T repeat the information found in your resume –

Repeating the exact same things you wrote in your resume is a common mistake. If you are like most people, you may feel that you have run out of ideas for your cover letter by the time you have finished writing your resume. BUT, the cover letter should be what sells the reader on your skills. The cover letter should give the reader a taste of the great things to come and encourage them to read more. If you don't have any idea what your top skills are and how they will help an organization, neither will your reader. Take the time to craft the right words and statements to make your skills shine.

DON’T start every sentence with “I”–

Focusing all the attention on yourself may seem like a good way to sell your skills, but it can also reflect a lack of interest in the company and in the job. There's a good balance to be drawn between selling yourself and selling what you can do for the organization. By shifting the emphasis to the recipient/company - and away from yourself - you can prove that your main interest is not just getting the job but also in doing it effectively. Try to rewrite sentences starting with "I," "me," or "my," to start with "You," or "Your." Show how you can make a difference for them.

DO have someone else review your cover letter –

While you can use spell-check on your computer, it is important to thoroughly check for typos, spelling and grammar mistakes. Proofread the letter yourself and also ask someone else to review the letter for you. Come see the career counselors in 303 Mary Martin Hall. They would be happy to review your cover letter!

Employers take cover letters seriously. You should too! A poorly written cover letter may cause your resume to be ignored. But a well-crafted cover letter will invite and encourage the reader to take a closer look at your resume. You'll make a positive first impression before your resume is even opened!

 Author: Audra Perry

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