Whether you’ve written one or one hundred cover letters in your lifetime, they can present enough challenges to make you dread the process each time.
The “carbon copy” cover letter is not recommended because it lacks authenticity.
Even worse, it forces you to turn your back on cover letter etiquette. If you want to make sure that your cover letter is unique and appropriate, let’s take a look at some cover letter etiquette tips to consider.
Tip #1: Keep the Cover Letter Personal
The first tip to keep in mind when writing a cover letter is that you want to make sure that it’s personal. You may have read in a business writing book at some point that it’s common to address the reader as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” While these terms can be appropriate when absolutely necessary, it’s better to track down the hiring manager at a company so that you may address him or her directly (ex. Dear Mr. Smith) in your salutation.
Tip #2: Focus on the Employer’s Needs
Another etiquette tip to keep in mind when creating your cover letter is focusing on the employer’s needs. This concept goes back to the “carbon copy” cover letter that looks just like the last 15 you’ve written. It’s always important to keep in mind that no two jobs are exactly the same, which is why your cover letters shouldn’t be the same either. To honor these differences, it’s good to focus on the specific needs of the employer and afterward addressing your own strengths and how they can help the company achieve their desired success. This way, you can help the hiring manager more easily align the company’s goals with your qualifications, which in turn can increase your chances of being hired.
Tip #3: Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s
Another aspect of cover letter etiquette is making sure that you proofread every word, ensure all grammar is correct, and most importantly, make sure that every bit of information you offer is 100% honest. You don’t want the employer to run a background check only to find out you’ve lied on any of your documentation. So before submitting your cover letter, it’s important to ensure every I is dotted and every T is crossed.
Tip #4: Keep it Short and Sweet
The fourth tip to consider when writing your cover letter is length. If you become passionate about what you’re writing, you can easily say too much, which can frustrate the hiring manager who has many more to read. So in the writing process, your job is to explain why you’re qualified and why you want the job as concisely as possible. This way, the hiring manager won’t trash your cover letter before getting to all of those great qualifications that would have otherwise gotten you hired for the job.
Now that you’ve learned a little about cover letter etiquette, it’s time to get started on your own. What are you waiting for? Your next job is just a great cover letter away.
Heather is passionate about providing working professionals with current, reliable and effective job search tools and information. Compare the top resume writers in the industry at ResumeLines.com