Monday, May 2, 2011

6 Tips To Improve Your Cover Letters

A great blogpost on wirting a Cover Letter...

6 Tips To Improve Your Cover Letters

There are a bunch of tools you need for your job search (Job Search Marketing Toolkit), one of which is the Cover Letter.
If you don't know what this is take a look at the link listed below. Your cover letter is most likely the first correspondence a potential employer will see, so it pays to take the time to get them write. No, I did not make a mistake when I wrote "them".
You should have several cover letters, each tailored to specific jobs or audience (see the links below as well). On to the tips.
1. Why One Cover Letter is Not Enough - You will be sending cover letters to potential employers at companies where you would like to work (no specific job application), recruiters, blind intro letters, you get the picture.
2. Okay, I need a cover letter. Where do I start? - First, you need to decide what type of a cover letter you are writing. Then you need to understand the main sections of a cover letter.
  • How to Write a Great Cover Letter - Describe your desired outcome, take a look at the construction of a cover letter, take a look at the sample and you are on your way.
3. Formats, formats, formats, who has a format? - Okay, if you've not defined the types of cover letters and your goal, then now is the time. Once you've got the basics, you need to include an explanation (why are you writing it), who are you and why they should look at your resume. Technical format is as important as well.
  • Cover letters: types and samples - This article will help you fill in the blanks as mentioned above, but also covers technical format, a few sample cover letters and then a number of links to additional samples. Also take a look a the related topics at the bottom of the page.
4. Pick a format and content that is right for you - As you start to look at some of the resume samples, you may notice that many are industry specific. If you are writing to someone with a specific industry in mind, pick a sample for your industry. On the other hand, maybe your cover letter is all about introductions, and in that case pick a format that suits your goal.
  • What Makes A Great Cover Letter, According To Companies? - Main points of this article is don't make your cover letter sound like a form letter. Make sure "you" come through and that the letter represents information that is appropriate to the person/company. Lots of great information in this article (including the simple stuff we so often get wrong - like spelling). A long article, but worth reading every word.
5. Create a list of what you are trying to accomplish - I love lists. We so often think we know exactly what we need to do and, for that very reason, we so often forget some of the basics. One rule of thumb is to let someone else read your cover letter formats in case you missed something. But you should still make a list. 6. It's easier to change something than it is to start from scratch - Yes, you can start with a clean sheet of paper and write your entire cover letter(s) from scratch. But, you will likely get a better result if you start with several of the samples and edit them down to something that works for you.
  • 50 Sample Cover Letters - 50 examples is a good place to start. This link has a number of different types with 2 or more samples for each.
Good luck in your search.

Author: CareerAlley


  1. I think that although the "always have a name" advice is good, it's very hard with a large multinational with only a job description to know how to even figure out what department the job is in unless you know someone on the inside. Custom yes, but automatically throwing out a CV because a cover letter doesn't have a name is stupid. You can show interest by knowing the company, the products, the specific jobs - but to have to know the name of the hiring manager is a high bar in a large company and I think that company is losing out on a lot of qualified applicants only because they don't have the right contacts on the inside.

  2. You have a point there, Anthony. Yet, normally the documents are presented to the recruiter (stapled together by the recruitment assistant) in the following order: the CL and then the resume. So, normally, the CL is seen first. It must make the recruiter want to flip the page and see your resume.

  3. Oh! thanks a lot for your interest, it was simply superb. I was excited to read this fabulous post, keep up the good work.

    Sample Letters



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