How To Write Cover Letters That Work
Sometimes there is confusion about the exact meaning of theterm "cover letter".
That's because when most people use that term, they don'trealize that there are two main types of cover letters.There are "document transmittal cover letters", and thereare "resume cover letters".
DOCUMENT COVER LETTERS
A document cover letter is a letter of transmittal thatexplains and conveys an attached document to a second party.
The types of documents that this type of cover letter isused for typically include: reports, plans, legal papers,applications, manuscripts, contracts, travel documents,booklets, manuals, brochures, product samples, photos,artwork, etc.
A document cover letter is normally a short one-pagebusiness letter that very briefly explains the attached orenclosed document(s) that is being sent. It only containsthe essential information such as why the document(s) isbeing sent, what the recipient is expected to do with it,and any applicable deadlines.
RESUME COVER LETTERS
When most people use or hear the term "cover letter" theyare thinking of resume cover letters.
Resume cover letters are used for one purpose only - toconvey resumes or curriculum vitae to prospective employers.
A resume cover letter is normally a concise one-pager thatintroduces you, explains why you're writing, summarizesyour key skills, abilities and experience, and asks therecipient to get back to you. Its main purpose is to capturethe attention of the recipient enough to get that person tolook at the attached resume with interest.
Of the two types of cover letters, by far the most commonlyrequested at my Writing Help Central Web site is the coverletter for a resume or curriculum vitae.
RESUME COVER LETTER WRITING TIPS
When drafting a cover letter for a resume or cv, there area number of important rules of thumb to follow. Thefollowing list is an adapted summary of a similar list inmy eBook "Instant Home Writing Kit".
1. Address It To A Specific Person
Even when sending an unsolicited resume to a company youshould take the time to find out the name of the appropriateperson and write the letter to that person. At least it willreach their office. Resumes sent to "Dear Human ResourcesManager" are almost always a waste of time. Name someonespecifically and it will at least make it into an in-basket.
2. Keep It Short And Focused
Remember, your resume already says it all. Keep the lettershort and focused and don't repeat what is already in theattached resume or c.v. Never exceed one page in a coverletter.
3. Be Enthusiastic
Express your interest in the job and the new company withenthusiasm. Show that you really want the job, and that youwould really like to work for that particular company.
4. Focus On The Needs Of The Employer
Throughout your cover letter make it clear that you areinterested in the needs of the employer. You are there tohelp them. You are part of the solution. Try to make thisthe subliminal message of your entire letter.
5. Show That You've Done Your Homework
Demonstrate a good knowledge of the company and industryfor which you are applying. A one-liner, or a phrase ortwo in the appropriate place in your letter that shows youare interested, and understand that the company's problemswill give you instant credibility (i.e. do some simpleInternet research).
6. Use The Appropriate "Buzzwords"
Every organization has its own ways of doing things and itsown lingo. Look through key documents such as annualreports, corporate Web sites, etc. Try to spot key words,terms, and phrases that are often repeated. Every companyhas them. Use as many of these "hot buttons" as you can inyour cover letter - where appropriate, of course. Forexample, if the "Message From the CEO" in the annual reportmentions the phrase "action plan for the future" threetimes, make sure you work that term into your cover letter.Don't overdo it, of course.
7. Summarize Your Skills and Abilities
If possible, without making the letter too long, summarizeyour overall skills and abilities in bullet-point form.This can make them stand out in a way that they wouldn't,buried in the resume or cv.
8. Promise To Follow Up
In the final paragraph, clearly state that you will befollowing up by telephone in a few days to see if you cananswer any questions. Make sure you do this. Industryexperts say that over 80% of people never do this crucialfollow-up and just wait for the phone to ring.
The challenge of course, is to try to address all of thesepoints in a three or four paragraph letter. It can be done!
To see a fully-formatted "real-life template" of a resumecover letter, go to the following link:
© 2005 by Shaun Fawcett
Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help siteWritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of severalbest selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks andhis internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and TricksFor Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site:http://www.writinghelptools.com
Writers Who Consistently Cut The Mustard Do So Because...
Have you ever wondered why certain writers are able to churn out seemingly endlessstreams of published bestsellers while thousands upon thousands of others suffer an endless stream of rejection slips?Sure, you can get lucky first time out, once in a blue moon.I did.
Writers Block is No Longer a Problem
"If you're like me, than I'm sure you're pretty familiar with the well-known writer's block.From time to time, when you have to start writing something, be it an article, an ebook, or just a letter, there is that moment when you just stare at the blank sheet of paper (or at the vibrant colors of your monitor) and nothing seems to come out from your mind.
How to Catch the Writing Bug
----------------------------------------------------------Permission is granted for the below article to forward,reprint, distribute, use for ezine, newsletter, website,offer as free bonus or part of a product for sale as longas no changes are made and the byline, copyright, and theresource box below is included. ---------------------------------------------------------- How to Catch the Writing Bug By Stephen Bucaro If you earn income as a writer, or use writing as amarketing tool, you know how difficult it can be at timesto write.
Editorial Freelancing: 5 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your Foot in the Door
So, you want to freelance as an editor, writer, copy editor, copywriter, graphic designer, proofreader, etc.? But, how do you go about it?My mother was fond of saying, "If you want to know something, go directly to the source.
The Daily Rite
If you want to be a writer, then you must write - you must write something every day.If possible, have an established time to write every day.
Resignation Letters: Dont Let Yours Backfire On You...
It turns out that "tips and templates on how to writeresignation letters" is the third most sought-afterinformation at my Writing Help Central Web site.So, when I looked into the subject more closely, I wassurprised to find that there is not a lot of guidanceavailable in guide book form on how to write a proper andappropriate resignation letter.
Writing Tips For Novice Authors
If you are reading this article then you probably have asked yourself at some point in your life, "Do I have what it takes to become an author?"I believe that successful authors, those who actually write and finish that novel, or book of poetry, or even that book of short stories, and see it all the way to publication, have certain characteristics.Characteristics of Authors1.
Dialogue Tags - A Study in Common Errors
Verb and SubjectIncorrect:"I bet you two had a fine time," said Ben.When using tags, it's unusual to have the verb before the subject.
Autobiography: Installment No.3
ESSAY 3Writing an autobiography involves a matching up of a specific plot-structure with a set of historical events. The autobiographer wishes to endow these events with a particular meaning.
Interviewing an Author: Dont Be Left Speechless
Joyce Carol Oates. Langston Hughes.
8 Quick Tips on Creating Vivid, Memorable Characters
These 8 tips on using characters in your stories will help you make sure that readers are involved with your story people right from the start.Tip 1: Make sure that the reader knows as early as possible who the viewpoint character is in any scene.
How New Authors Can Keep Their Manuscripts Coherent
In large publishing houses, many manuscripts penned by first-time authors, never make it past the "first reader" who for all practical purposes is a gatekeeper of sorts. This person's job is to weed out manuscripts that do not fit certain established submission criteria.
The Magic of Layout in Your Story
"The Magic of Layout..
Business Letter Etiquette
Business etiquette is fundamentally concerned with building relationships founded upon courtesy and politeness between business personnel. Etiquette, and especially business etiquette, is a means of maximising your potential by presenting yourself positively.
Ten Tips To Get Started Writing Your Book
You are far more likely to successfully write and publish your book if you follow these tips before you write a single chapter.1.
Dont Rely on Your Spellchecker - or - The Importance of Good Proof Reading
Weather posting a page to your Website, writing a letter to a customer, or submitting an article for publication, it is extremely important to demonstrate how professional you are. Not only does a series of spelling and grammatical errors show a discourtesy to your readers, it makes you look amateurish.
What you Dont Know About Book Publishing Can Cost You
Dream that your book can be a number one best seller? Read books or visit Web sites that say they have your answers? -- All you need to do is get their program, follow their advice, and the world is yours. Or, you think I'll write it, but someone else can market and promote it.
A Perfect Day for Writers
In one of the exercises in my "Getting Started as a Freelance Writer" workshop, I ask participants to describe what a "perfect day" would be like for them.The responses are frequently tender, wistful and unfailingly vivid.
Inspiring the Poet in You!
Poems. Just the mention of them makes me smile.
Crime Writing Beckons
If your cash is running out fast and you have an incessant need to write, why not turn to crime?No! Not committing crime, but to writing about crime. Crime is all around us, and people want to know about it.