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Cover Letter Writing Guide

Your cover letter writing guide

Your cover letter a.k.a. application cover letter or simply an application letter, in particular, is an important marketing tool that highlights your most attractive qualifications to a potential employee. If it is well written, will lead the employer to your resume or CV. Because of that it is also called an introduction letter.

A cover letter is an integral part of your job application. It should refer to your present and future plans, showing your prospective employers what you want to do now and what you will do for them in the future.

Because CVs and resumes refer mainly to the past time with exception of your present job and employers are interested mostly in the future of they companies, often cover letters are more important or convincing to them then the accompanying resume or CV.

Before writing your cover letter, analyze your reader by considering his/her requirements and needs. By putting yourself in the reader's situation, you will better understand his or hers needs.

After this analysis, you can write your cover letter demonstrating how your background, training, work experience and abilities can meet those needs.

Plan your cover letter writing

Plan your cover letter writing accordingly. Place the most important items first, supported by facts. Such an approach will help you persuade the reader that you are a good match for the position and that s/he should interview you. Remember that you are responsible for communicating your value to the employer.

Do not expect employers who typically receive hundreds of CVs and resumes including cover letters for each job to wade through poorly written cover letters to figure out what you can do for them.

Experienced cover letter writers follow these basic principles:

  • Most job cover letters consist 3 paragraphs:
    • Brief self-introduction including a description of your career objective.
    • A short description of your education, skills and other relevant information.
    • A closing paragraph indicating your contact address and contact numbers. Ensure that you include your e-mail and fax contacts.
  • Take the time to research each employer's organization and personalize each letter. Indicating that you know something about the company shows that you are interested in the employer. However, when you use a distribution service, address your cover letter to the HR Consultant.
  • Use keywords in your cover letters, too. Some employers don't scan cover letters or include them in resume databases, but many do. Keywords in cover letters can be important for attracting the "human screeners." If you're answering an ad, tying job specific keywords in your job cover letter as closely as possible to the actual wording of the ad you're responding to can be a huge plus.
  • Highlight one or two of your most significant accomplishments or abilities to show that you are an above average candidate. Selecting only one or two special attributes will help your chances of being remembered.
  • Use a polite, formal style that strikes a balance between confidence in you and respect for the employer.
  • Be clear, objective and persuasive rather then simply describing your background.
  • Be positive in tone, content and expectations.
  • Do not add details about yourself or your past experience that may call attention to your weaknesses or rise questions about your confidence or ability to do the job.
  • Use active voice with power words and action verbs in your writing to hold the reader's interest and convey a sense of energy.
  • Group similar items together in a paragraph, then organize paragraphs so that they relate to each other logically. Avoid writing that lumps together unrelated information without a strong topic sentence to tie the information together. Remember, it is your responsibility to organize the information for the reader.
  • Do not make any paragraph longer then seven lines, so can be easily understandable.
  • Always back up your statements with facts or examples. Documentation creates credibility, reduces uncertainty and abstraction for the reader.
  • Generally avoid jargon and cliches. It is tempting to use ready-made phrases such as "self-starter", "proven leadership skills", "excellent interpersonal skills",etc., but using today's buzzwords can suggest parroted formulas rather then original thought. However, some jargon specific to your profession or/and industry in which you are seeking employment can be beneficial.

Check other comments on cover letters writing.


The cover letter examples and cover letter templates can be handy too.

art_remember Cover Letter WritingCheck the spelling and grammar of your cover letter. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your job letter, send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your cover letter must be targeted and scannable.

art_tip Cover Letter WritingIf you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

Other Cover Letter Writing Info

Now to finalize your Cover Letter Writing topic, if you have visa & work permit and if your cover letter and CV or resume are ready, you may email them through the CV & resume distribution services to employers and job recruiters worldwide. Take a look at international dress code and start preparing for a job interview.

In addition, on the info, job search, cover letter, CVs & Resumes and job interview pages, you will find many useful tips for overseas jobs seekers.

Good luck with your cover letter writing!

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