Cover Letters



“I do my best proof-reading right after I hit ‘Send’.” Anonymous

The first and most important job of a cover letter is to communicate why you are the perfect fit for the job you are applying for. Think of a cover letter as “beyond the résumé”. Use it to tell your prospective employer something about you that is related to, but not necessarily obvious in, your résumé. You should see your cover letter as a chance to make a first impression about your communication skills. And you should use it to showcase your personality, and possibly some of your interests or passions.

Do's

  • Do ... use the correct names (and spellings) for the person and organization you are writing to.
  • Do ... have the correct job title and address of the person you are writing to.
  • Do ... include your contact information in the letter.
  • Do ... write a letter, not a quick note – make it count.
  • Do ... state the job you are applying for and your specific qualifications and experience for that job.
  • Do ... explain why you find the organization compelling.
  • Do ... use a variety of positive words and strong action verbs.
  • Do ... keep the letter to less than one page (with 10 point or 11 point font size – no smaller).
  • Do ... end with a ‘thank you’ and ‘Sincerely’. Good manners never go out of style.
  • Do ... edit, read aloud, ask someone to review and proofread it.
  • Do ... keep a copy as a record and as a reference for follow up.
  • Do ... state you will contact the addressee in a prescribed period of time (i.e. one or two weeks) to follow up.
  • Do ... include your résumé and note in the letter that the résumé is enclosed.
  • Do ... make sure you include the correct résumé that relates to the job.
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Don’ts

  • Don’t ... use it as a marketing blast to scores of prospects. Make it focused.
  • Don’t ... forget to cross check for accuracy, edit again, and proof
  • Don’t ... confuse it with the résumé. They are not the same thing.
  • Don’t ... make it a memoir or a novel. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Don’t ... forget to specify a date or occasion when you will follow-up. And do execute this follow-up – or it will all have been in vain!
  • Don’t ... end with ‘Warmly’, ‘Warmest regards’, ‘Love’, ‘Hugs’ etc. You are not writing to friends and family.
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