How to Nail Your Cover Letter

Many employers ask prospective applicants to submit cover letters with their resumes. A well-written cover letter can be the difference between finding a job . . . and finding your resume in the prospective employer s garbage can. xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /

Think of a cover letter as a sales pitch to a potential employer. A good cover letter introduces you to the employer and explains why you are the best candidate applying for the job.

So how do you write a great cover letter? Let us help. Here are some tips.

Cover letters fail when they:

1) Don't communicate clearly why you want a particular job;

2) Don't communicate clearly why you are uniquely qualified for a particular job;

3) Fail to address the needs to the employer;

4) Fail to be interesting, easy to read and to-the-point;

5) Aren't checked for spelling and grammatical errors;

6) Don't include the recipient s correct title;

7) Don't include adequate contact information;

8) Use the passive voice;

9) Use awkward language;

10) Are an obvious form letter that an applicant has sent to many employers.

Cover letters succeed when they:

1) Clearly explain your interest in a particular job;

2) Clearly explain your interest in a particular employer;

3) Clearly explain why you are uniquely qualified for the job;

4) Use active verbs;

5) Get-to-the-point (the cover letter should be under one page);

6) Are printed on high-quality stationery;

7) Are not in the form of a quick cut-and-paste form letter that s been distributed to other employers;

8) Are well-written and interesting;

9) Contain an immediate "attention grabber";

10) Are spell-checked and free of grammatical errors;

11) Are written in your own words;

12) Downplay "I" and emphasize "you" or "your company";

13) Illustrate that you know something about the industry & company.

14) Are addressed to the person who can hire you (department head or hiring manager, not a company);

15) Are followed up within a week by a phone call.