Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - page 2 of 2
Writing a strong resume cover letter
Close strongly suggesting the next action
You need to take control of the next action. Don't write: ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ or ‘I am available for interview.’ Suggest a date for the interview or say you will ring in ten days to arrange an interview. Such techniques show your confidence in getting the interview and put you in control of the next step.
List enclosed information at the end
You usually only include your resume with your cover letter. Don't include examples of work, references or other attachments — it's too early in the selection process. Use the business writing convention of Enclosed: to show you have attached your resume. This stops you writing such a weak and obvious sentence as ‘I have attached my resume for your consideration.’
Write your cover letter in plain English.
Use active verbs, short sentences, simpler words, make it jargon free and use specific information. Take a look at these two examples:
TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF POOR WRITING:
Long Sentences, Complex Words, Wordy, Jargon-ridden, Generalizations
I have been enrolled as a design student in the department of environmental design at the University of Missouri in Columbia for two years and wish to be considered for any vacant positions in your company. Although I do not anticipate graduation until June 1999, I feel that because of my current creative and technical skills, as well as an interest in behavioral-interface design, I would be qualified to do the type of design work you require.
PLAIN ENGLISH EXAMPLE OF EXCELLENT WRITING:
Short Sentences, Simpler Words, Concise, Jargon-free, Specific Information
I am studying fashion design at the University of Missouri, graduating in June 1999. My creative and technical skills include computer-aided design and web-page design specializing in simple design techniques to help people grasp difficult technical ideas.
If you would like further help to write in plain English, I can recommend StyleWriter the plain English Editor. StyleWriter is the perfect writing tool ad-on to help you write in a clear and concise style.
Proofread your draft
You cannot afford one mistake or slip. Use your spelling checker and check all names carefully. Read the draft several times and make sure you have included all the necessary information. Check your punctuation, grammar and consistency of capital letters and names. Ask a friend to check it over.
Tip 1: Follow up your application.
Follow up your application by calling the employer if you have not had a reply in a reasonable time. Tell them you are keen to know the outcome of your application and that you'd like an interview. This shows interest and confidence. Keep at it, your persistence will pay off.
Tip 2: Write thank-you letters after an interview.
A well-worded, pleasant thank-you letter is essential after an interview. It should show your continued interest, expand on your key qualifications and show your enthusiasm for joining the organization. If you're down to the last two candidates for the job, writing the thank-you letter may be the difference between rejection and success.
FOLLOW-UP THANKYOU LETTER EXAMPLE
1221 Stave Avenue
Washington DC 22090
(202) 445 4545
Sales Executive advertised in
June 22 , 2000
Dear Mr Johns
Thank you for the interesting 45-minute interview last week to discuss how I could help as your new Sales Executive increased Datacom's photocopier market share.
You have gathered a young and talented team of professional sales staff. To get the best out of the team, you'll need a seasoned professional with the confidence and leadership to bring in more business. I'm sure my ideas and experience could guarantee your company greater turnover and profits. It's an exciting prospect for everyone.
Thank you, once again, for the interview.
Cover Letters Summary
- Tailor your letter to the needs of the employer, the job and the organization.
- Write about what you offer the employer; not what the employer offers you.
- Positively show you're the ideal candidate by pointing out your key qualities.
- Back up the key qualities you offer with specific examples.
- Show the benefit you brought to your current or previous employer.
- Write in clear, concise, plain English — perfectly typed and presented.
- Carefully proofread your final letter — don't let a simple error slip through.
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