Just trying to RELATE…

Keeping your cover letter on TARGET

Posted in PR Praticum by meshae on January 18, 2010

It's important to keep your cover letter focused. Know your target.

After reading several different articles on writing a cover letter, I must say that the “top 5” tips I chose were pretty consistent across the sources.

And with that said, here are the TOP 5 things I think your cover letter should do:

  1. Make YOU stand out!
  2. Simply let the reader know who you are and why you’re writing.
  3. Grab the reader’s attention.
  4. Target the right person
  5. SHINE!

Now you may be thinking “how is my cover letter supposed to shine” or “how do I ‘simply’ grab attention?”

No worries. By the end of this post, I promise you’ll know how.

Let’s revisit #1. As with your resume’, your cover letter should also stand out. Your cover letter introduces who YOU are to the reader, who in this case is a potential employer. So go ahead, ask yourself “why am I applying for this job?” What makes you capable and worthy of filling the position? One thing, you must know how to do is market yourself.

On to #2. The key word in #2 is “simply.” Often times, we get carried away with words and “overdo” the cover letter. Remember a cover letter is only an introduction; it should be simple and to the point. When done correctly, the reader will want to continue learning about you and move on to your resume’. A simple cover letter tells who you are and why you’re writing.

Pressing forward to #3. I know. I know. I will admit that it is very hard to simplify, yet keep someone’s attention; however it is possible. Not only is it possible, Accent Resume’ Writing (http://www.accent-resume-writing.com/covertips/ ) suggests using their model and simply answering the following four questions:

1) For what position are you applying?

2) How did you learn of the position or company?

3) Why are you perfect for the position?

4) Who will contact who?

See. It’s not so hard once you target what you need to say.

Almost done. On to #4. If you want to ruin your chances of getting the job/interview, address your cover letter to the WRONG person. Do your research and figure out who you should address the letter to. This takes a little extra work, but you’ll be glad you did it. Dear sir or madame is not enough, nor is it professional. Go the extra mile. After all, at this point you have absolutely nothing to lose.

And last, but certainly not least #5. Though all five tips are important, #5 may be the most important. Make your cover letter shine by using quality paper and printing. The last thing you want to do is send your cover letter in on flimsy, not-so-nice paper. Be sure to use the same type of paper for your cover letter and resume’. Don’t forget to check the printer before you print, either. Your cover letter should be stainless. Professionalism should always be your priority.

Using these 5 tips should keep you on target on creating a stand-out cover letter. Find your target…and ACT! Good luck!


4 Responses to 'Keeping your cover letter on TARGET'

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  1. Drapeto said,

    It’s funny how basic we need to keep our cover letters but it’s still necessary to customize per application. Many cover letters are pretty generic and I’ve even seen some that are way too gaudy. I’m sure event planning and coordination positions have to yield a certain… pizzaz and creativity. Hopefully music and representation will show the same open eye towards out-of-the-box notions.

  2. […] Keeping your cover letter on TARGET by Meshae Hankerson […]

  3. jameskick said,

    I’ve got to say, cover letters are some of the most complicated presentations you can ever make. While the Resume hopefully speaks for itself, the cover letter has to explain why you want to be there. This can be difficult, especially in these tough economic times when many are willing to take anything. Thanks for your suggestions!

  4. […] MeShae Hankerson’s Blog: Cover Letter […]

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