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Why write a Cover Letter?

I’d guess that most people only include a cover letter when the help wanted ad says to include one.

The best reason is to get the prospective employer’s attention and get your resume a second look.

Yes, a cover letter is just another opportunity to make mistakes and look bad to your prospective employer.

However, a well written cover letter is also an opportunity to help your resume stand out from all your competition and really impress your prospective employer.

Cover Letter Web Links

About.com
Job Star Central
Monster.com
Susan Ireland Resumes

Cover Letter Don’ts

1. Don’t start your letter with a sentence like this:
“I’m writing this letter in response to your advertisement.”
That just says that this letter is a chore and I’m only doing it because you’re forcing me to do it.

2. Don’t start a sentence with “I” more than absolutely necessary. If you ignore this rule, you’ll be telling the reader that you’re self centered. It’s all about me!

 

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How to write a Cover Letter

What does the perfect cover letter look like? Well, that’s just a matter of opinion, and my opinion is to keep it simple. Get to the point and get out.

Get the prospective employer’s attention and don’t lose it.

All you need is one page and three paragraphs. Your prospective employer may have hundreds of resumes to look through. Don’t make him read more than he must.

The first paragraph needs only three sentences. The first sentence must get the reader’s attention. The second sentence identifies the position you’re applying for. The third gives a brief description of your qualifications and skills.

The second paragraph explains how your skills will meet the needs of their company. Tell them how your past experiences will benefit their company. You could mention supervisory experience, your verbal and written communication skills, your self-starter attitude, your computer skills, and any other skill that may be attractive.

The third paragraph is where you ask for an interview. I start off by saying something nice about my last employer. For example, “Although I enjoyed the challenges and opportunities of working with ABC Company, I had no choice but to....” Then finish by asking for an interview.

 

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