You are ready to apply for a job, you have written your resume, you made sure to proofread it multiple times, and now you realize that you are going to need to write a cover letter. Don’t worry; it isn’t as scary as you may think. Staying professional and selling yourself as a valuable employee is key to a successful cover letter. Yet minor (and significant) details can make or break the positive impression you have on the employer. Teena Rose, a resume writer for Resume to Referral, points out some important things to stay away from when writing this important professional document.
1. Don’t make it look ‘messy’. No, this is not implying that you should cover it with color and glitter glue; simply make it look clean and professional. Teena advises, “Visually, your letter should appear consistent and the content should be ‘tight.’” First impressions apply to the documents you hand your employer as well. Make sure your cover letter looks impressive from a distance, so that any hiring manager will take the time to read what you have to say.
2. Avoid including unrelated skills. Though you may think that some of your accomplishments are impressive, if they are not related to the position, it is better to leave them out. Teena suggests you keep two things in mind when writing your qualifications, “Does each sentence add to my candidacy? Am I fully relaying my quality and value without that particular sentence?” Basically, make every sentence as valuable as possible so that the employer finishes reading your cover letter with a positive impression about you.
3. Remember to include correct contact information. This means to make sure you know exactly who will be reading your letter at the business. If the job posting does not include this contact person, go ahead and call the company and ask around. Also make sure you are also spelling the recipient’s name and address correctly. Teena states, “By failing to list the basics…you’re showing a lack of attention to detail; and possibly worse, allowing the document to float around the company.”
4. Avoid having an unprofessional layout. When writing your cover letter, it is crucial to use correct business formatting. This means including the date, contact information, company address, signature, and etc. If this is your first time writing a cover letter, stop by the Luther College Career Center where we can provide you with booklets and other resources to help you get started.