Published On : November 15, 2013
Today, MyPerfectResume tackles a few of the most common cover letter questions we receive from visitors.
"I'm in a tech field, and to be honest, I really don't think that the writing skills I display in a cover letter are going to make or break my chances of getting a job. Can't I just type one line that says: "I'd like to apply for the job. Please see my attached resume."
You can do that, of course, and you won't get into any kind of ethical or legal trouble. But you also won't give yourself much of an advantage over the dozens of other people who will also be applying for every job you pursue. Think of your cover letter not as a chore, but as an opportunity. Use it to let your reviewers know a little bit more about the kind of person you are and what you'd be like to work with—You're not a dull corner-cutter who can't be bothered. You're an open, expressive, hard working person who cares about this job. Besides, tech mangers are more concerned with communication skill than you may realize.
"I've been working on my cover letter for hours, and I still feel like it sounds wooden and unnatural. It doesn't represent me at all. Should I just stop worrying and start sending it off? Or should I pick at it some more?"
It's probably time to stop worrying about it and send it off. You can always keep revising and customizing your letter as you move forward and apply for more jobs. But before you finally roll the dice and forge ahead, hand your letter off to someone else so they can have a look and give you some feedback. Your sentences may not be as wooden as you think.
"I've been trying to edit my cover letter down from about five pages. I'm down to barely two, and I'm absolutely out of things that I can cut. Every word is essential. Any advice?"
Every word is NOT essential. Don't put your red pen (or red pixels) down yet. Find a way to tell your story using fewer words, fewer examples, and fewer adjectives and adverbs. Get to the heart of the matter—What do you do? Why do you it? What do you have to offer to these specific employers? And why is this the perfect job and company for you? That's all your cover letter really has to say. And as difficult as it sounds, you can certainly find a way to fit this message onto a single page—even better, just a few paragraphs.
"I'm a new grad and I'm starting to apply for professional jobs for the first time. And as far as my cover letter is concerned, I have no idea where to begin. Is the process really as complicated as the internet makes it sound?"
Some parts of the process are just as complicated as they sound, and more. Others are simple once you get past the surface. To cut through some of the clutter, visit MyPerfectResume and get the templates, formatting guidance, and straightforward advice you need to move forward and get your career off the ground.