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What Makes a Great Cover Letter?

Did you know that there are different kinds of cover letters but you can still use the same guidelines for writing each one of them? The foundation of your cover letter depends on how you put into writing your intention, your interest, your motivation, your enthusiasm, your experience and your skills. Technically, it should show your personality and professionalism.

To understand what makes a cover letter great, you need to know the dos and don’ts in a cover letter. The first thing you need to get familiar with is to how you should address your letter. A great cover letter is addressed to the person who is in charge with the application process. Otherwise, your cover letter and resume will have a hard time reaching the personnel department. Therefore, do some research to know exactly who is giving the hiring decision; in addition, ensure that the name, title and company information is spelled correctly.

Also, build your letter with a personal touch. Today, generic cover letters are as dull as watching foreign movies without translations. Write your cover letter in a conversational tone however keep the formality and professionalism. Your letter should sound like you and it should not sound like a history book. To do this, be natural when making your cover letter. At first try you may feel nervous and awkward about it as you try to avoid grammatical and spelling errors. Do not mind the errors first. You can check and proofread them after.

When composing your letter, ensure that your interest shows. You can do it by showing your knowledge about the company or the industry. Apparently, there is where you also need to do research. However, do not go overboard that it seems you copied all the information of the company. As a guide, the two things you need to keep in mind are: who are they and what they do.

To create a bigger impact, make use of terms and phrases that are significant to the hiring manager or employer. For instance, if the company requires specific skills and experience for a certain job position, use those requirements and match them to your skills and experience. If you must, bold them to make them stand out even more.

Technically, a cover letter should not have bulleted lists; though some people use bulleted lists to make the letter much easier to read, it is still recommended that this list is incorporated only in your resume. Therefore, your letter should be in paragraphs form. It should consist of at least three paragraphs. The first paragraph should briefly state what position you are applying for, how you learned about the vacancy, and how qualified are you and what are your general qualifications.

On the other hand, the body of your letter expands on how qualified you are. State the relevant skills and experience you have and discuss them as short and detailed as possible. If you can, demonstrate how your skills and experience make you qualified for the job. The concluding paragraph of your letter should contain your request for an interview. Be specific and direct about it.

Landon Long is the founder of InterviewMastermind.com. You can download his free “Resume Rebel” Video Course to learn how to write a resume and stand out in a slow economy.