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How to Write a Better Cover Letter For Your Resume

Sep 12, 2008
Your resume is your invisible mouthpiece that speaks volumes about you, the job seeker. If your resume fails to impress the reader within five seconds, consider yourself doomed. Here are my tips to write a better cover letter for your resume. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first - and sometimes lasting -- impression.

Here is how you can increase your odds of creating a cover letter to grab the reader's attention:

TIP 1. Keep it brief. Your resume is a 1-2 page document that conveys your qualifications, therefore you don't want to include how great you are and why.

TIP 2. Remember your cover letter serves a purpose. It is announcing you - and your enclosed information, your resume.

TIP 3. Your cover letter should state in 1-2 lines what you're doing: "I'm applying for the position of..." or "Enclosed is my resume for the position of ..."

TIP 4. Clearly state what position you're applying for. Don't assume the contact person will automatically know what job you want.

TIP 5. Highlight a few of your strong traits or skills. Although brevity is the key here, you don't want to merely say, "Here's my resume. See you later."

TIP 6. Don't repeat contact information. You resume should include that pertinent information.

TIP 7. Don't staple your cover letter to your resume; instead use a paperclip or nothing at all. Whoever reads your resume may need to photocopy it, and it will frustrate him to waste time unhinging the staple without ripping the cover letter.

TIP 8. Grammar Mistakes. That's an obvious one. It's hard to proofread your own work. Find another person to critique your cover letter and resume. You're dead in the water if your cover letter is littered with misspellings, poor grammar or typos.

Below is a cover letter you can use as a guide:

----------------------
Today's Date

Contact Person, Job Title
Department
COMPANY NAME HERE
RE: NAME OF VACANT POSITION

Enclosed please find my resume. I am interested in working with you as your POSITION TITLE. As you will see from my enclosed resume I am qualified in a many areas (or you can state, 'I am uniquely qualified for this position because of my vast experience in ...'). My college degrees are in Business Administration with a minor in Management. I have spent the last two decades performing INSERT SIMILAR RESPONSIBILITIES.

I am anxious to discuss this opportunity with you further.

Respectfully,

Your Name

-----------------------

As you as can see, the above cover letter is short and to the point. It serves its purpose by prefacing your resume. Don't waste your time rambling on. As it stands, you have a 50/50 chance the reader will fully read your cover letter. A lengthy cover letter will only cripple your chances of the reader reading your resume. Follow the above simple steps and you'll make a great first impression. Of course, it's up to you to back up what you say with your knowledge, skills and abilities; but at least you're starting off in the right direction!
About the Author
Brian Scott is a contributing writer for http://www.LousyWriter.com, a free website on how to write better. He recommends college students visit http://www.MasterFreelancer.com for english grammar software to help with writing cover letters.
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