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Cover Letter: Dos and Don’ts

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The key to granting an interview call is a good and smart cover letter. Writing a cover letter requires knowledge of the set of the points to be included and the set of errors to avoid. Following is a list of rules you can follow to ensure your chances of getting success in your job hunting:

Dos:

  • Do address your letter to a specified person.
  • Do specify your purpose for writing this letter, are you replying for an advertised job, asking for an internship, etc.
  • Do proof reading of your letter to avoid any sort of spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Do use a suitable format, where each section/paragraph will answer to a specific purpose. Like your first paragraph will introduce you, second will
  • Do showcase your writing skills, but use simple language and words/phrases.
  • Do write an original cover letter to employer, and never use a photo copy.
  • Do write a personalized and customized letter for each employer, and never use a general format, you can mass mail to every recruiter as it will simply be filtered out.
  • Do keep your letter brief and precise so as to summarize your content in 1 page.
  • Do tell from where did you heard about this job.
  • Do specify the job-position you are applying for or are interested in.
  • Do use action verbs.
  • Do tell the employer about your eligibility points (skills, experience and how you suit for this job).
  • Do brief the advantages that company would receive by hiring you.
  • Do attach the cover letter content in your e-mail body, while sending the application through e-mail. Preferably you must shorten the letter to fit in your mail.
  • Do tell the reader how to reach you, whether you would be contacting them after a specified time period, say 5 days, or the recruiter should confirm you through mail.
  • Do show your enthusiasm and positive attitude, and tell that you look forward to meet him/her soon for an interview.
  • Do close the letter by thanking and acknowledging the reader for his/her time and consideration.

Don’ts

  • Don’t ever write a letter opening.” To Whom so Ever it may Concern”. Please be specific.
  • Don’t address the reader as Sir/Madam, if you are f not sure about proper name, use “Dear HR Manager” or Dear Director”, etc.
  • Don’t include references or recommendation letter along with resume and cover letter.
  • Don’t give lengthy unnecessary introductions/explanation; be brief in your reasons and skills to match the job.
  • Don’t demand from the recruiter, what he/company can do for you. Remember that your purpose here is to market yourself.
  • Don’t specify your job needs and salary slab expectations.
  • Don’t copy and paste the content of your resume.
  • Don’t make vague promises and exaggerations.
  • Don’t forget to put your signature and date on the letter (hard copy).
  • Don’t wait to long for sending your cover letter once the job has been advertised, be quick.
  • Don’t just leave the action decision on recruiter’s side. He is too busy. Request for an interview or follow up for the interview.
  • Don’t push the reader by adding “Please Find the Attached Resume”, etc. Instead pull the attention with your first paragraph and content, so that the reader is himself interested in reading the rest of resume.

Sell yourself, market the benefits you can offer the employer and show how you can meet the needs of the employer, rather than what you hope they will do for you.

  • Highlight your top three to five key points from your resume and use key words and phrases.
  • Avoid  using sentences that begin with “I”
  • Do not forget to give some “breathing room” between each paragraph with a single space.
  • Don’t forget to proofread it yourself, and then have it critiqued by a professional career counselor.
  • Do laser print it on the exact same ivory or off-white paper you used for the resume.
  • Keep a hard copy of the letter with the attached job description in your files for your records and reference; it will come in handy later.
  • Sign the original, attach it above the resume and while sending hard copy, either deliver it in hand or use fast mail services.
  • Use a large 9×12 envelope to enclose your cover letter so that it remains flat.
  • Make follow-up calls after a reasonable amount of time to check the status and to request an interview.

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