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Get Noticed With Your Cover Letter

Think of your cover letter as a commercial for yourself

Cover Letter Mistakes

  • Don't send out a generic cover letter, whatever the position. Instead, tailor each letter (and résumé) to the job you want.
  • Don't waste space on phrases like “I am writing to…,” “Let me introduce myself,” etc. Get to the point or your letter will not be read.
  • Don't repeat what is in your résumé. Instead, call attention to your qualifications by highlighting your special skills and achievements. Find fresh ways to get your message across.
  • Don't call attention to your age by citing your 20, 30, or 40 years of experience. Rather, choose words like “extensive” or “significant” to describe your experience.
  • Don't include your salary requirements. Instead, save the salary discussion until you are close to being offered the job.

Selling Yourself

  • Take time to describe your “personal brand”—the unique skills and strengths that make you attractive to an employer. Convey your brand in your letter.
  • If you don’t have an elevator speech, try writing one. It’s a pithy, 30-second summary of who you are and what you'd like to do professionally. Not only will this make you feel more confident, but you can also use elements of your elevator speech in your cover letter.
  • Share your cover letter with friends who will give you their frank reactions. Does your letter feel intriguing? Does it make the reader want to know more about you?  If not, go back and revise it, pointing up the things that make you the best candidate for this job.

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