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What Your Cover Letter Should Say About You

If you've done your homework, perfected your writing skills and understand how to position yourself against other applicants, you've got nothing to fear. Here's what a cover letter should say about you.

You Write Well

  • You'll make a good first impression by submitting a cover letter that is well-written and free of mistakes. Be sure to avoid typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. As your first contact with the employer, the cover letter really serves as a writing sample and proof (or not!) that you can organize your thoughts and write clearly.

You Understand and Respect the Employer's Busy Schedule

  • You'll win points immediately if you keep your letter short, sweet and to the point. Open with a solid lead-in statement that grabs the reader's attention. Be sure to avoid extraneous personal information. No one needs to know that in your spare time you also knit, juggle oranges and have won several prestigious hula hoop championships.

You Know How To Sell Yourself

  • With any sales pitch, the buyer wants to know "what's in it for me?" The same holds true for a cover letter. Use the cover letter to "sell" the employer on how they will benefit from your skills and experience, not how you will benefit working for them. Explain how your skills will help meet company objectives: "In my current job I developed an e-mail newsletter that increased donations by 40%. I am confident this experience would help me assist you in your ongoing fundraising efforts."

You Are Qualified for the Position

  • Your cover letter should outline the ways you specifically fit the qualifications needed for the position. However, don't just repeat what is on your resume. Offer concrete details demonstrating why you are the perfect person for the position: "My solid marketing background and four years of supervisory experience make me an ideal candidate for your Marketing Manager position.

You're Smart Enough Not to Send a Form Letter

  • How do you feel about the form letters you receive? Do they bore you? Offend you? Do you consider them junk mail? Human Resources professionals feel the same way. Customize every letter to a specific company and a specific position. Don't waste postage and paper on a pre-written form letter. They can be spotted a mile away.
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