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COVER LETTERS

COVER LETTER DO'S & DON'TS

Always address your cover letter to a specific company or person.  If possible, find out the name of the person in the company who will be doing the hiring.  Be sure to spell their name correctly.  Also avoid creating a form letter; personalize the note for each position.

Include all your personal information:  name, phone numbers, address, email address.  You want to be sure they can contact you easily for an interview.

Be formal.  Do not address the person by their first name and avoid using slang.  Do not use contractions (won't, wouldn't, that's).

Be clear on the position that you are applying for and where you heard about it.  Employers may be hiring for multiple positions and you do not want them to become confused about which one you are applying for.

Be creative.  Make your intentions clear in your own words.  Be sure not to use coloured paper or stationery as this does not look professional.  Letterhead is acceptable.

Make your qualifications for the position clear to the person reading the letter.  If certain skills are mentioned in the job description, be sure to mention them as well in your cover letter.

Don't sell yourself short; try not to be modest about your accomplishments.  You only have a couple of paragraphs to convince the employer they should consider you for the position.  Show that you know what you're talking about.

Keep it brief.  Only mention your most important achievements and skills related to the position.  Remember that you have more room in the resume.

Mention your knowledge of the company or the industry.  Make the employer think that it was not random choice of yours to apply for the position.  Be careful not to go overboard.  Be sure to research in order to be sure that your information is accurate.

Be sure to sign the letter.  This is an important personal touch.  Ensure that your name is typed below the signature.

Limit your cover letter to approximately three to four short paragraphs.  In the first paragraph make it clear what position you are applying for, how you came across this position, and why you want to be considered for this job.  In the second paragraph, write about your experiences, accomplishments and skills that relate to the position.  In paragraph three, request an interview and thank them for their consideration.

Proofread.  Use your computer spellchecker and read your letter over thoroughly.  Consider having someone else proofread it for you as well.  Remember that one error can give an employer a bad impression.

Always attach a cover letter to a resume even if it is not requested.  Make your intentions clear.