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Cover Letter Dos and Don'ts

Cover letters are often overlooked, yet they have many purposes when applying for a job. The purpose of a cover letter is to identify the position you are applying for, indicate your interest of the company, state your main qualifications, and specify the actions that you will take in pursuit of the employment opportunity. While some employers insist that cover letters are optional, you should still take the time to write one! This will allow you to stand out among other candidates because it is known that you put in the extra effort. If you are applying for a new position, here are some tips when writing your cover letter:

1. The header should match your resume!

Yes, a simple copy and paste will do the trick! The header on your resume and cover letter should be the same. Most of the time headers include points of contact such as: your name, your email address, your phone number, and your home address. It should be noted that your resume should always be typed on white paper.

2. Keep it concise

It is important that you are not rambling in your cover letter. Your writing should be succinct, even though there is a lot of information to cover. A typical cover letter is usually a page or 3-5 paragraphs.

3. Have a strong opening paragraph

Be aware of your audience! Who exactly are you writing to? Once you address or greet your audience, your first line should pique the interest of the employer that is reviewing your cover letter. A strong opening statement normally includes the job title that you are applying for and how you heard of the position. This statement should be followed with information to show your specific interest in the company and a preview of your skills that can be applied within the position.

4. Make it specific to the job you’re applying for

The middle paragraphs of your cover letter should make the employer excited to learn more about you. This is where you can explain your achievements or qualifications that are directly related to field or job description. You should rewrite a cover letter every time you apply for a new position! It should not be a general document that repeats all the information displayed on your resume.

5. Pave the way for the interview

In the closing paragraph, you should always thank the employer for the consideration of possible future employment. Also, ensure the employer that you will contact them in the near future and ask for an appointment.

It is beneficial to have a peer or professional look over your cover letter to catch exaggeration and grammatical errors. If a peer is unwilling or unable, have a CCO staff member provide feedback and review it with you! To schedule a Quick Chat for cover letter reviews, click here.

Wishing you the best of luck while applying for jobs!

Boiler up,

Windle Fray

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