Posts Tagged ‘cover letter’

how to write a cover letter that pops!

August 15th, 2010

When writing a cover letter, the ultimate goal is to grab the attention of your prospective employer and make you stand out over the other candidates.  To do this you will need to use an arsenal of techniques designed to market yourself to employers.  It can be easy to dismiss some of these techniques to save time, but doing so could hurt your chances of landing an interview.

White Space

Employers go through hundreds of resumes and cover letters while hiring.  If they receive a cover letter with little or no white space, their eyes will glaze over and your name will not catch their attention.  Nothing is more boring or dry than staring at a huge chunk of text.  White space is a marketing tactic.  It makes the body of writing easier to read.  You should utilize this marketing tactic when promoting yourself.  With the right amount of white space, your cover letter will look professionally crafted.

Bullet Points

The use of bullet points goes along with white space.  They make your cover letter easier to read.  Your job is to make your employer’s job as easy as possible.  You should use your bullet points to highlight your skills that specifically relate to the position you are applying for.  Most people’s eyes are naturally drawn to the bullet points.  If your bullet points basically sum up the employer’s job description, it will go a long way to landing you an interview.  On the other hand, if your bullet points are unrelated to the position, you will not be considered for your job.  Make sure to take your time when writing your bullet points to ensure you obtain the maximum effect.

Research

It is important to research the company before you write your cover letter.  Doing so will allow you to pick up on company terms and technologies, which you can then incorporate into the body of your cover letter.  Nothing is more powerful than portraying yourself as someone who already invested in the company.

Format

Using a standard professional format on your cover letter is necessary to present yourself as a professional.  If you stray from the format, you cover letter will stand out, but not in a good way.  It will be perceived that you don’t know what you are doing or cannot follow instructions.  Even the most qualified people can be passed over due to a poor format.

Names

If you can find the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter, be sure to include it.  A simple “To Whom It May Concern” can work, but your letter will be much more powerful if you are able to find out the hiring manager’s name.  It will show that you did your research before submitting your cover letter.

Spelling and Grammar

The biggest mistake you can make when submitting a cover letter to a company is neglecting to proofread it.  One spelling mistake or grammar error will turn your cover letter that pops into a cover letter that flops.  Even if you think your grammar is perfect, double check a couple times before you submit it.

Show Enthusiasm

You will need to show that you are excited about this job opportunity, even if you are not.  Enthusiasm can be hard to convey in writing, so you will need to include little tidbits at the end like “I am looking forward to speaking with you” or “you can reach me at”.  Even though these statements might seem pushy, they let everyone know what your intentions are.

Writing a really good cover letter can be time consuming, but it can also be a doorway into a new career.  By crafting a well writing cover letter that pops, potential employers will be more likely to want to sit down and talk with you.  After that happens, it’s time to brush up on those interview skills.