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Honesty, Enthusiasm, and Respect Sought in Cover Letters


Continuing our series excerpted from our new, free white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search, which you can download here. If you prefer not to download, you can read the contents here. WhitePaperScreenshot.jpg In this part of the series, we asked hiring decision-makers what they look for in a cover letter. Each post over the next several days will reveal one decision-maker’s response: Honesty, enthusiasm, and respect. If there are parts of the job description that you only have minimal experience in, tell me. I want to know why you’d be great at the job. I want to know why you’re interested in working with my company. Spell my name properly, double check your grammar, and make sure your contact info is on the letter as well as on your resume. If you’re submitting a hard copy, sign it with a decent pen, and print it on high quality paper. It sounds silly, but if you’ve got a stack of letters on cheap paper signed with a blue Bic, and one letter that has a nice heft to it and a nicer looking signature, that one letter will stand out big time. Word of caution: Nice paper means high-end plain paper — not the crazy floral stationary that you got for Christmas a few years ago. I can’t believe how many people will send out an otherwise professional document on hideous personal stationary. It’s a big pet peeve of mine — really tacky. Your cover letter should simply contain:
  • Brief introduction.
  • What you do.
  • Why you want to work here.
  • One or two sentences on why you’re the best candidate (without being arrogant!).

— Erin Cheyne, creative director, Cheyne Creative See all the parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.