Friday, November 18, 2011

Some things to remember when writing your cover letter ...

OK. You’ve been working to put together your resume and cover letter. So, here are just a few more things that may help as you are writing these materials.

Four things to remember:

1.  Paper and Ink – Use a high quality white paper and make certain the reproduced copy looks clean and crisp. No coffee stains, no creases, no scummy photocopy lines. Look sharp. Be sharp.

2.  Typeface – I usually recommend just a few. Times New Roman is always good. Arial is good. Verdana is good. Georgia is good.

3.  Symbols – Don’t use them. If your resume is electronically scanned, and most are these days, the scanner may kick your resume into the “trash”.

4.  Margins – Not less than 1-inch all the way around. And don’t crowd everything.

Some things to “do” when writing your cover letter:

1.  Address the letter to the name of the hiring manager (NOT the head of the HR department).

2.  Use industry jargon where appropriate.

3.  Use the highest quality paper and envelope – either white or off-white.

4.  Snail mail your materials if possible. Put a yellow sticky note on it with a hand-written note that says: “Please read this!”

5.  If you must email it, do NOT send it as an attachment if possible. Instead, include your cover letter and resume as part of your email. Separate the elements of the email using the following:

========== End Cover Letter ==========
========== Begin Resume ============

Some things NOT to do:

1.  Do NOT mention salary requirements or what you were paid in previous jobs. Ever! Always wait until the interview to discuss salary – but only if you are asked first. If the job posting asks for salary requirements, add this line to your cover letter near the end: “My salary requirements are negotiable.”

2.  Do NOT trust the spell checker to catch all the mistakes. The spell checker only catches words that are spelled incorrectly – it does not catch incorrect word usage – like when you type “fro” instead of “for”.

3.  Do NOT trust the grammar checker in your word processing program to untangle your sentence structure. In some situations, it misses them … and in others, it is just flat out wrong.

With a targeted resume and a strong cover letter – your chances of getting an interview are increased.

Good hunting!

J  Dana

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