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Tips for Writing Covering Letters

A creative, well-written cover letter is often the best way to make your résumé stand out from the endless sea of applicants and find its way into the “must read” pile of the person making the hiring decisions. Here are few simple tips to help your cover letter wow:

Make yourself stand out. Get the competitive edge by writing a cover letter that focuses on your unique and exceptional qualities. What makes you an ideal candidate? Be strategic, persuasive, and concise.

Target the right person. Sending your letter to the proper person can make all the difference. Avoid generic addresses such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Instead, call the company and find out the name and title of the person who does the hiring for the job that in which you’re interested. Remember to ask for the correct spelling of his or her name.

Hire a proof-reader. Never underestimate the negative effect of bad writing, which can greatly hurt your chances of landing a new position. Invest in your career by hiring a professional writer or editor to check your cover letter for spelling, grammar, and overall readability.

Avoid exaggeration. There’s nowhere to hide when you finally land an interview and the prospective employer wants to know what you meant by “best in the world.” Avoid saying anything that sounds like hyperbole, which can project the wrong image and damage your credibility. And remember never to speak poorly of former employers or co-workers.

Close encounters. Don’t depend on the employer to take action. Request an interview and tell the employer when you will follow up to arrange it.

Don’t forget the follow-up. After sending in your cover letter and résumé, it’s imperative that you follow up. You’ll greatly increase your chances of getting an interview if you call the employer directly after writing, rather than just sitting back and waiting for a call.

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