Bet your glad to get the resumay I’ve attached to this letter
I gotta lot of experience doing this kind of stuff and you should call me next week when I got a phone. My last boss was a reel loser: I’m expcting, to make at least $1000/week.
Joe Wannabea Bodyguard
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The above is an example of a very poorly-written cover letter. I realize this is a gross exaggeration, but I do want to point out problems with this letter, and some important omissions. Cover letters can help you get your foot in the door–so make sure to put your best foot forward!
1.Â Date the Letter — Cover letters and resumes are often arranged by the dates in which they
are received. It also helps H.R. (Human Resources) to track positions with advertising.
2.Â Find out (if possible) EXACTLY to whom the correspondence is to be addressed. Use the
full name: Mr. Harlan Austin, or Ms. Cynthia Uhrich (if you don’t know if the woman is married or single.) It is just respectful and in good form. Do your research. If you don’t know, place a telephone call and respectfully ask to whom you are to address correspondence. In some cases, it may just be to “Human Resources.” Be sure to write down the information given to you, so you get the spelling correct.
3.Â Indicate the position for which you are applying, and perhaps where you saw or heard
about the job. If a close friend or colleague who knows the employer referred you, be sure to mention that. It could be the detail that gets you the interview, especially if your friend is highly regarded by the employer.
4.Â Grammar and spelling are important. Please note the following words are wrong in the letter
above: yourÂ (you’re or you are), resumay (resume), gotta (slang, should be “have” or “possess”) reel (real), expcting (typo–expecting)
Overall, the grammar in this letter is terrible, and the punctuation is wrong. Now, to the content of the letter;
5.Â A general statement like “lot of experience doing this kind of stuff” tells the employer nothing
about you. The cover letter should provide a very brief but specific snapshot of who you are. You might write something like this: “I have 3 years of on-the-job experience in the security field, most recently serving as Chief of Security for Biggs Construction.” Take note of what the specific job requirements are for the position you are seeking, and highlight those skills in your cover letter. Customize each and every cover letter to the specific job for which you are applying.
6.Â Do NOT, under any circumstances, “vent” your frustrations/problems from your last position in your cover letter. This will guarantee your materials will go straight into the trash!Â Who would ever trust someone who bashes their former employer? Remember, discretion is a key part of this work. Instead of naming names, you might even consider (at this early stage in the query) something like: “I was responsible for the safety of an extremely high-profile pop singer and her children.” In the interview, you may be asked for more specific details.
7.Â Â Â Use a font that is easy to read. In the letter above, did you notice how difficult it was to
Â Â Â Â Â Â read? Keep the font (typeface) simple, clean and neat. Twelve point is preferred. Fonts
Â Â Â Â Â Â with serifs are thought to be the best for ease of reading (serifs are those little flourishes
Â Â Â Â Â Â at the bottoms & tops of letters–the eye flows more easily from one letter to the next.)
8.Â The cover letter is not the place to address salary expectations. It is bad form to write your salary expectations in this manner. Better to finesse your way through this: perhaps when H.R. calls you, or someone contacts you for an interview, you might address this issue.
One way to handle it is to make the appointment, and then politely inquire “just so that I
don’t take up your time, could you let me know the salary range for this position?”
9.Â Be sure to include your contact information. How can someone call you if you haven’t included your telephone number? (Have a working phone.) If you have offered an email address as a means of reaching you, check your email, several times a day.
10.Â Personality and professionalism. The cover letter is the very first impression you make with a potential employerâ€¦and you can never take back that “first impression.” The cover letter is a preliminary opportunity to present who you are as an individual, beyond your resume. ALWAYS submit a cover letter with your resume.
A Great cover letter will make employers want to look at the resume. A Good cover letter stands a 50/50 chance of a resume review and a Poor cover letter means your resume will most likely go into the trash, unread.
Consider hiring a professional writer to assist you with your cover letter. The money spent could be a worthwhile investment in your future (and you can write it off on your taxes as a business expense!)
POWER Resumes & Cover Letters