Help Writing A Cover Letter

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Lots of people have great resumes but need help writing a cover letter. Too often, they make the mistake of focusing exclusively on the resume and relying on its strength to carry a subpar cover letter. The fact is, without a great cover letter, you may not even get your resume read at all!

To understand why this is, it's helpful to think of your cover letter as your first impression. As such, it should introduce you in an appropriate way, which means your name should be one of the first considerations. After that, you want to use this limited forum to make any points your resume omits. You may, for example, have found a specific project at your last job especially intriguing. If so, this is the place to include those details, but only insofar as you connect them to your present purpose, which, more often than not, is finding a job.

More Help Writing a Cover Letter

One of the other principal lessons taught to those seeking help writing a cover letter is to keep it short. Traditionally, cover letters have two or three short paragraphs. One should suffice for introducing yourself. Another ought to explain why you're sending a resume as well as what uniquely qualifies you for the job. Either a third paragraph or the latter part of the second one should ask for a follow-up, be it an interview, an e-mail, or a telephone call. Leaving this off is akin to going through a sales demonstration and then not asking for the sale.

If you're looking for additional help writing a cover letter, there are dozens of books that offer finer points on formatting and style. While you want to be sure to get these right, it's ultimately the contents of your cover letter that will sell you. Still, there should be no punctuation mistakes or sentence errors, as these can get you weeded out of the applicant pool before you're ever in it to begin with.

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