Writing a Cover Letter

Written by on July 25, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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Writing a Cover Letter

It will take several drafts to get your cover letter just right.

Writing a cover letter is tricky. You have to sum up your experience and qualifications for a specific job in just a few paragraphs. It really can be difficult. As a result, many people have nice resumes and really terrible cover letters. Or, worse, no cover letter at all. There are, however, ways to make writing an effective cover letter easier.

Summary and Accomplishments

As we discussed in Resume Writing – Part 2, your resume should have a summary section and an accomplishments section. These sections are where you lay out why someone should hire you. Well, once you’ve done this for your resume, you can just lift these points and reuse them on your cover letter. There are a few ways to do this.

One way to use your summary and accomplishments sections would be to say something like this:

          I possess many of the qualities mentioned in this ad. Some of my qualifications are:

               *  Master’s Degree in…

               * Ten years of experience in….

Don’t make the hiring manager wade through dense paragraphs of information to find what they are looking for. To make your information accessible, incorporate bullet points from your resume to highlight the key information into your cover letter.

Word Choice

Your cover letter, like your resume, should use strong verbs and all of the numbers and statistics you can. Like I said in Resume Writing – Part 3, potential employers like to see statistics and dollar amounts. So, go ahead and use these in your cover letter. Also, make sure your resume is full of clear verbs that really show what your experience and expertise are.

Problems

Your cover letter is your only real way to explain issues without actually meeting the hiring manager. So, use your cover letter to explain anything that might be a problem. This could be a gap in employment or a lack of experience. Whatever your issue is, use your cover letter to explain why this perceived flaw is not a problem and should not be a factor in the decision to hire you.

Personalization

It is very difficult but, if at all possible, try to find a person to address your cover letter to. With some job ads, this can be near impossible. However, make an attempt to include the name of a human in your cover letter. This shows that you made the effort to research the company and find out who is doing the hiring.

No matter what you do, writing a cover letter is difficult. However, if you use these tips, it can be a little easier to accomplish.

What information do you include in your cover letter?

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.