Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts
Here are the keys to writing successful (and dynamic) cover letters. Follow these simple rules and you should achieve success in this important phase of job-hunting.
- Don’t ever send your resume without a cover letter.
- Do address your letter to a named individual.
- Don’t use a sexist salutation, such as “Gentlemen” when answering a blind ad.
- Don’t waste your first paragraph by writing a boring introduction. Use the first paragraph to grab the employer’s attention; give the employer the reasons you are qualified for the position. Read more.
- Do send an original letter to each employer.
- Don’t use such cliches as “Enclosed please find my resume” or “As you can see on my resume enclosed herewith.” Employers can see that your resume is enclosed; they don’t need you to tell them. Such trite phrases just waste precious space. And don’t use pleonasms (wordy phrases), which also waste space.
- Don’t depend on the employer to take action. Request action. Request an interview, and tell the employer when you will follow up to arrange it. Then, Do So. It is imperative that you follow up. You will greatly increase your chances of getting interviews if you call the employer after writing instead of sitting back and waiting for a call. Those who wait for the employer to call them will generally have a long wait indeed.
- Don’t send a cover letter that contains any typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar or punctuation, smudges, or grease from yesterday’s lunch.
- Do use simple language and uncomplicated sentence structure. Ruthlessly eliminate all unnecessary words. Follow the journalist’s credo: Write tight!
- Do write cover letters that are unique and specific to you, but if you’re having troubles getting started, consider using our Dynamic Cover Letter Formula. And do take advantage of these free cover letter samples.