Crash Course in Cover Letters


We’ve been asked about how to close a cover letter; for example, is “take care” too informal for traditional cover letters? (Yes, we think it is.) In the grand scheme of cover-letter writing, though, how you close the letter is of little consequence compared to the much bigger issues listed below. Key cover letter strategies:
  • Addressing the letter to a named individual. Job-seekers must address the letter to a person — the hiring manager. And if you make the effort to get the name, make sure you spell it correctly. Do not write to the Human Resources department.
  • The first paragraph must engage the reader and entice him/her to read more of your letter. Do not waste this opening paragraph with the typical boring one that many job-seekers use.
  • The second and third paragraphs must show how well you fit the position you are seeking — as well as highlight key accomplishments. Focus on what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you.
  • The last paragraph must state how you plan to follow-up the letter (usually with a phone call). Be sure to give a timeframe — and then be sure to do what you say you are going to do.
Finally, be sure also to avoid:
  • Long (read boring) sentences and paragraphs;
  • Letters longer than one page;
  • Typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors;
  • Simply rehashing/highlighting your resume
And remember to follow-up all cover letters with a phone call — showing your continued interest in the position and the employer. Read more in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Don’t Make These 10 Cover Letter Mistakes. And to find just about everything you ever wanted to know about cover letters, including numerous samples, go to the Cover Letter Resources section of Quintessential Careers.