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Video:Cover Letter Writing Tips

with Alison Doyle

Writing a cover letter can seem like a difficult task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing cover letters to send with your resume.See Transcript

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Transcript:Cover Letter Writing Tips

Hi. I’m Alison Doyle, the Job Search Guide for About.com. A well-written and targeted cover letter will set you apart from the job search crowd. Here’s how to write customized cover letters that will help you get the interview.

How to Write a Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter can seem like a difficult task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing letters to send with your resume. It can be time consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort to show the company why you are a good match.

Tips for Writing a Great Cover Letter

  • Take the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for. Then list the skills and experience you have. State how your skills match the job in paragraph form or in a bulleted list.
  • Include your contact information (address, phone, email address) at the top of every letter you write and in the signature of each email message you send.
  • Personalize your cover letter and, if you can, address it to the individual responsible for hiring. When you don’t have a contact person, address your letters and email messages to Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom it May Concern.
  • Write simply and clearly. Your letter should be one page, or less. Each paragraph should contain three or four sentences, at most. Use a 10 or 12 point font that is easy to read like Times New Roman or Arial. Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph.
  • When you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job it's important to close your letter in a professional manner.
  • Even when applying online or via email, your cover letter needs to be properly formatted, readable, and without any mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to include a Subject in your email message with your name and the job title you are applying for.
  • Include a signature on all your email messages with your name, phone number, email address, and Linked In URL if you have a Linked In profile. The easier you make it for the hiring manager to get back to you, the better outcome you’ll have.

Review Cover Letter Samples

When you’re not sure how to get started, review cover letter samples to get ideas for your own letters. Use examples as a starting point for creating your own personalized library of job search correspondence.

Make Sure to Proofread Your Cover Letter

Before you send your letter spell check and proofread. Then proofread again. It's often easy not to notice mistakes in our own writing. When emailing or applying online send or upload your cover letters as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs.

Sending a Cover Letter

Before you send an email message with an attachment send a copy to yourself to make sure the attachment comes through correctly and your cover letter is formatted properly when you open it. Before you send your cover letter, it's important to make sure that you have covered all the basics and are sending a perfectly written and formatted cover letter to your prospective employer. Remember, when you need to write a cover letter, it's sometimes the small things that make a big difference. Take the time to make sure your cover letter is perfect so it makes the best impression.

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