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Cover Letter Writing Tips

cover letter

Writing a cover letter is very important to accompany with your resume and sometimes the small things make the biggest difference. Some companies are now requiring candidates to send a cover letter as this explains things that your resume can’t and it portrays to an employer how qualified you are for the position you are interested in.

Select a Type of Cover Letter

There are several types of cover letters that can be sent to a potential employer and choosing the right one is important. Application letter, Referral Cover Letter and Letter of Interest are a few types that can be utilized depending on how you heard about the job, if it is just for networking or if it is accompanying your resume. Look at the complete list here and decide which type is best fit for your situation.

Include Keywords

It is important to include skills, recognition or result keywords that are inline with any requirements of the job posting, and in turn show a hiring manager that you have these particular skills to be successful at the job posted and increases your chances of landing an interview. Keywords are broken down into three categories: skill, recognition and results oriented keywords, with each being used depending on job requirements. Remember to be honest as being caught in a lie removes all chances of employment, click here to see a full description of keyword categories and examples.

Write a Personalized Cover Letter

Take your time to craft a truly personalized cover letter that highlights your skills and interest in the company. If you learned of the position from a referral or a job board ensure to mention it in your opening paragraph, especially if you were referred as name dropping can only benefit you and if they have a employee referral program this will assist your referrer.  Addressing a cover letter is important but can be tricky, especially if replying to a blind ad but with a little effort you can get this information and make your cover letter that much better. Doing a little online research or making a phone call can give you the name of hiring manager to address but if you are unable to get this information look at these neutral salutations that can be used.

Explain Employment Gaps

If you have any employment gaps on your resume, your cover letter gives you the opportunity to explain. Whether it was due to being laid-off and being out of work, travelling or going back to school it is best to make a hiring manager aware. You don’t have to go in elaborate details but it is good to be brief and to the point, a hiring manager will ask additional questions during the interview if necessary.

Follow Instructions

Now that you have completed your personalized cover letter and are ready to send it to a prospective employer, ensure that you read the application instructions clearly. Companies sometimes vary their instructions as some request the cover letter to be sent as an attachment, in this case ensure that your cover letter is in the proper format whether it be a pdf or Word document format.

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