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Writing a Cover Letter: Dos and Don’ts


college email etiquetteWriting a good cover letter can supplement an impressive resume, which increases your chances of getting your dream job.

Here are some tips to make your cover letter stand out, no matter what type of position you want.

Don’t Waste an Opportunity to Explain Your Skills

Writing a cover letter for a job improves on a good resume, since it allows you to further explain the abilities that your resume merely lists. This is your chance to flesh out what you can do. While your resume lists your most recent jobs and duties, your cover letter can focus on explaining the specific skills that make you right for each job.

Do Tailor Your Cover Letter to Each Job

Writing a new cover letter for every job you apply for is not necessary, but you should at least change it a little each time. This means adding in the name of the person who will be reading the resumes and cover letters.

You should also refer to specific details about the company you are writing the cover letter to, since this will show the reader it is not just a generic letter that you send to everyone.

Don’t Forget to Proofread

This is the simplest tip for writing a cover letter, but you would be surprised how many people turn in their letter with typos. Everything should be spelled correctly, but it is especially important to verify the accuracy and spelling of your contact information, the reader’s name and the job title.

Be sure to go over your cover letter closely every time you make any edits, just in case you have introduced new typos into the text since your last proofreading session.

Do Keep the Cover Letter Short and To the Point

A good cover letter for any job should not be more than one or maybe two pages long. Keep in mind how busy the hiring manager is, meaning that he or she will probably only have time to skim a short cover letter for each job candidate. Keep the pertinent information easily accessible so it grabs the attention of the reader.

Don’t Write a Boring Cover Letter

In fact, the entire letter should be interesting enough to stand out. You don’t have to write outlandish details or embellish your work history. Just be sure to grab the reader’s attention from the start, perhaps with a few facts about you that make you perfect for the job.

Your goal is to convince the reader that you are the right person for the position, so make sure everything you write backs up this thesis.

Do End Your Cover Letter with a Call to Action

Writing a cover letter is like writing a sales letter for a job, so why not throw in a call to action? Instead of ending it weakly by simply trailing off, request an action from the reader. You can tell the hiring manager to expect your call next week, or you can request a call to set up an interview for the job or get any questions answered.

If you need help writing an outstanding cover letter for any job, University Language offers a cover letter writing service along with a resume service.

You can also check out your college career counseling center to find out how to improve the final copy. Remember that writing a good cover letter can be just as important as a good resume!



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