Tips for a great cover letter

03.23.2012


Tips for a great cover letter
Writing a great cover letter can be the key to getting a job, and various strategies can assist in reaching this end.

Writing a great cover letter can mean the difference between landing a position and not, and applicants who are job searching can follow certain strategies in order to make a good impression.

While some market experts contend that cover letters are decreasing in prominence, many others believe that this is not actually the case. 

Marcie Schorr Hirsch, of Massachusetts-based Hirsch/Hills Consulting and The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide author and New York City-based employment coach Roy Cohen stated that the importance of the cover letter is related to the size of the company that is conducting the hiring, according to Forbes. Cover letters may have less of an impact at larger companies.

"A brilliant letter that’s a response to a job posting may not make a difference," Cohen told the media outlet. "In an overburdened workplace, it’s less likely that that letter will get a lot of attention."

There are various strategies that can be used in order to write a top-notch cover letter, and one key point is identifying a mutual connection between the applicant and the hiring manager in the first sentence, according to the news source.

William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, stated that if utilizing a referral cannot be accomplished, storytelling might be a good tactic, the media outlet reports. "If you have some anecdote—’An uncle of mine once said...,'" he suggests. Or, "one reason I want to work for you is I always remember something my father told me."

According to U.S. News and World Report, one important strategy is making the letter original. Every letter should be unique, and should be tailored to the job requirements stated by the employer. A good three-paragraph format to follow involves starting out with an introduction - which quickly identifies why the applicant is submitting materials for the position. The new section should describe how the job seeker's qualifications match what the hiring manager is looking for. The third paragraph should reiterate what makes the applicant a good fit and ask for the interview.

Job seekers need to be meticulous in ensuring that their cover letter is free of errors and typos, the media outlet reports. Editing more than once, and taking break between making revisions, can be very helpful for candidates conducting a job search. 

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