For some people, writing a cover letter is almost as difficult as taking apart an engine or building a computer from scratch. If you're one of those people, searching for jobs can be an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, you don't have to guess at the elements needed in a professional letter of introduction. As long as your cover letter has these seven items, you're bound to make a good impression.
1. Professional Greeting
Career experts have been touting the importance of the custom cover letter for years. A simple way to customize your letters is to make sure each one is addressed to the right person. Skip generic greetings, and do a little sleuthing to find out who is reviewing the cover letters for the job in which you're interested.
2. Exciting Introduction
If a novel doesn't start out with a good introduction, you probably don't care to finish it. The same principle holds true for cover letters. Why should a hiring manager read your cover letter if it doesn't have an interesting opening? Put a lot of effort into writing an introduction that grabs the reader's attention and holds it to the very end of the letter.
3. Appropriate Length
When writing cover letters, you need to think like Goldilocks: the length needs to be just right. If your cover letter exceeds more than one page, the hiring manager might not read the whole thing. Making the letter too short, however, makes it difficult to sell the hiring manager on your skills. Unless the job posting specifically says you should send two or three pages, try to keep your letter to one page.
4. Engaging Content
You have a limited amount of space to tell the hiring manager why you deserve some consideration for the job. Don't waste it by repeating the same information two or three times. Every sentence of your custom cover letter should provide new information.
5. Familiar Phrases
The phrases you use in your cover letter should be directly related to the requirements outlined in the job advertisement or internal posting. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable to lift some phrases right out of the advertisement and use them in your letter.
6. An Eye for Detail
Don't ruin your hours of hard work by sending a cover letter that has formatting mistakes. Review the letter carefully before printing it and mailing it to a potential employer. If you are sending an electronic cover letter, make sure all of your attachments are in place before you hit send.
7. Show-Stopping Ending
The last paragraph of your letter should make a lasting impression on the hiring manager. Use this section of the letter to summarize why you are a great candidate. Make a solid case as to why the hiring manager should pick you out of dozens of other applicants for the job.
You don't need to be the next great American novelist to write a great cover letter. Just follow these tips to impress hiring managers and build a successful career.
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