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Keep your cover letter simple. It’s as simple as that. The purpose of an employment cover letter, fax or email is to get your resume into the right hands or channel. Once there – either at the correct person, decision maker or department that document – whether it is a physical cover letter, a fax or email should serve the purpose of getting you into the driver’s seat. It’s the interview you want first and foremost.
That is the process of gaining that employment.
It can be said that at a fast food restaurant you will never get a great hamburger or sandwich but you can be assured that you will seldom get a bad one. It’s similar with your cover letter. You want to attract attention but offend no one.
Make your cover letter plain simple and straightforward. What rules and guidelines can you follow to accomplish this? First stick with a plain style of text. Keep it simple and plain. Resist the temptation to add and polish, using all the advanced features of your word processor office suite on your computer or the advanced editing features now afforded in many email accounts.
Next as general rules make sure that the lines on the page have no more than 65 characters. It can be stated that if your line length is longer than this standard, you risk the text fragmenting unevenly on multiple lines on your receivers computer screen – whether it be in a direct email , or even an email sent from scanning your original hard printed cover letter. It is best to emphasize that your cover letter should be concise but also clear. Generally well done cover letters are simply two to three paragraphs and under a word count of 150 words. Your cover letter should reveal your interest and “sell” the target employer on one or two of your outstanding capabilities. Along with these recommendations it is best to follow “standard” and “accepted” business letter guidelines.
Initially you want to be spotted as a person who acts as part of a team and follows directions when given. While it may be true that in the case of emails that even though emails are less formal than a paper letter, you should not omit parts of the letter, such as salutations or closings.
Entice your readers with your subject line. It’s the hook to attract further attention and follow through. Always include a brief, but informative subject line. The subject line of your email should stimulate the reader to continue reading onwards in your letter. Is that not the purpose of the whole exercise? While on this subject take the time to research the keywords and buzzwords not only of the job itself, but also of the industry and the specific firm, industry or specific departments involved.
It can be said in today’s world of concerns for business and electronic security that it is best not to attach files or “attachments” to an email cover letter or resume. Many email systems and business firms or organizations may have computer systems or business policy and procedures that specifically block this practice. By doing so you may eliminate any chance you have of ever proceeding to the interview stage as either an email ,computer security system or manual selection may reject your email cover letter and deny you entry to the whole procedure right from the get go.
Best practice is to provide what the firm requests. Follow the company, firm or organization’s guidelines, policies and procedures to the letter. Proofread more than once and by more than one person. Lastly always provide sufficient contact information for the employer to follow through. Name, address, phone number and email. More than one prospective employee has missed out on a crucial employment interview simply by missing or providing inaccurate or incomplete contact information.
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