Essential Cover Letter Writing Tips

Published: Sep 03, 2009

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By: Michelle Dumas

One of the most common mistakes which many people make when writing cover letters is to neglect the entire purpose of a cover letter. While some may go overboard with the amount and details of information they include in the letter, others, in an attempt to be informal, take an entirely-too-casual approach. It cannot be too strongly stressed that writing a cover letter is not the same as writing to a friend or a family member. Please resist the urge to be chatty, humorous, or overly personal.

The purpose of a cover letter is to provide your prospective employer with a brief view of the person who is seeking the job and the benefits and value you would bring to the company as an employee. It is meant to spark his interest in reviewing your resume and requesting an interview. The cover letter is your way of introducing yourself, making a good first impression, and outlining how you are the perfect "solution" to the employer's needs.

A good cover letter will help the prospective employer decide that he wants to know more about you, and what you can offer to his company. If you keep this in mind, you will be well on your way to writing a cover letter that does its job.

As your cover letter is the employer's first introduction to you, preparing it correctly is essential. It is a good idea to write an initial draft of the letter then "sleep on it" and review it the next day. In addition to taking care that the letter is written in the proper form for a business letter, you want to pay special attention to your spelling and grammar. One misspelled word can make the difference between capturing the employer's interest and landing your letter and resume in the "toss" pile rather than the "to interview" pile.

The information you provide in your cover letter should be clear, brief, direct, and to the point. As it is meant to be an overview of what you can bring to the company, you should focus on the most relevant facts while leaving the details for your resume. For example, if you have earned a college degree or have had prior experience that is relevant to the job, you can state these qualifications in your cover letter, but reserve dates and other specifics for your resume.

Your cover letter should inform the employer that you are interested in the job, and that you will be an asset to his company. It should let him know that you have the qualifications or experience that he is looking for in a new employee. It is your chance to make a positive impression, and to convince him that he wants to know more about you.


One of the nation's leading authorities on resume writing, personal branding, and job searching, Michelle Dumas is the founder of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Since 1996, Michelle and her team have empowered thousands of professionals all across the U.S. and worldwide with resumes and job search strategies that get results and win jobs fast. Visit for your free copy of the "Revive Your Resume" audio mini-seminar.

Article Source: Article Maniac

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