What Counts in a Cover Letter

Posted March 23, 2009 by

Writing a cover letter is a commonplace aspect of conducting any job search. When you apply for a job, even if the prospective employer does not ask you for one, it’s good to send one as a way to give them a little more insight into who you are and what you’re capable of.
But despite the fact that people write them everyday, many still are unclear about the more important aspects to keep in mind. So to help you out, let’s look more specifically at what counts in a cover letter.
Good Use of Grammar
There’s not much that stands out more in a cover letter than how it has been written. Yet, you’d be amazed by the number of individuals who send theirs out without having edited it – big mistake.
Remember, when sending a cover letter, writing is the only way to get your point across. This means this mode of communication needs to be perfect. Improper grammar usage or misspelled words can say a lot about how efficient an employee you are likely to be – at least in their eyes. So unfortunately, you may be an excellent employee who won’t even be required to rely on written communication when working, but because of your cover letter being poorly written, you may not be called in for an interview.
Avoiding Fluff, Cliches, and Generalities
It’s a well-known fact that prospective employers don’t have much time on their hands when reviewing cover letters. So it can be irritating when they’re trying to read through yours to get a good sense of your skills as well as desire to work for them, and all they get in return is ” … and like my grandmother always says, you can’t make anything of yourself unless you be yourself …”
In other words, while it’s nice to know that you listen to your grandmother’s words of wisdom, it really doesn’t have a place in your cover letter. And neither does showing how many big words you know or being too vague about why you’re applying for the job. Your best bet when writing about yourself is to be specific about what skills you bring to the table (mention an example or two if possible). This way the employer doesn’t have to dig through a bunch of fluff just to figure out why they should hire you.
Being Honest and Clear in Your Intentions
One aspect of writing that any prospective employer can respect is being honest and clear about the contributions you hope to make at their company. This means there is no room for template answers. Your cover letter should be tailored to their company, and honestly speak as to why you’re applying and how you want to make a difference. Of course, doing so will require research on your part. But if you really want to be considered for the position then this is a step you should not overlook.
Writing your cover letter can be easy if you keep in mind what really counts. So dive in and write yours with care. Making a real effort to speak directly, clearly and honestly to a prospective employer will work wonders in getting you the call back you’re hoping for.
About the Author:
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and is passionate about providing working professionals with current, reliable and effective job search tools and information. Need a resume service? Compare the top companies in the industry at http://www.resumelines.com.

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