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The Focus Is You

The Cover Letter

Beyond Factual Information in Resume and Application

Sample Cover Letters

Basic Formatting Rules of Writing Cover Letters

  • Use paper matching your resume
  • Keep the letter brief and to the point; use short paragraphs
  • Prepare the cover letter using a word processor and print using a laser quality printer
  • Vary the font size between 10 and 12 points
  • Don't get too cute with novelty graphics, gothic fonts, shadowed letters, or fancy borders
  • A crisp, clean, professional look

An Outstanding Cover Letter

  • Tailored to each company to which you are applying
  • Addressed to a specific person (Call the HR office and ask who is responsible for hiring for the position of _______)
  • Identifies the position for which you are applying and the way you learned about the opening
  • Indicates why you are applying for the position
  • Shows you can perform the items listed in the job descriptions
  • Indicates your main qualifications (Highlight important experiences that directly relate to the position, but take care not to restate your resume)
  • Refers reader to your enclosed resume
  • Indicates how to reach you
  • Sells yourself (Go beyond the facts outlined in your resume and show the reader what makes you stand out from everyone else)
  • Uses power words (see below)
  • Contains no typos/no misspelled words and no grammatical errors
  • Tenses agree
  • Projects enthusiasm and confidence (Gives a picture of your personality)
  • Makes the most of your experiences
  • Paints a picture of what you will do for the employer's company
  • Showcases knowledge of the employer's company (Check the company website for information to include here)

An Unacceptable Cover Letter

  • Addressed to "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam"
  • Restates your entire resume
  • Starts every sentence or paragraph with "I"
  • Not signed
  • Addressed to the wrong company
  • Typos and misspelled words
  • Long sentences that ramble on and on
  • Lack of organization
  • Poor print quality
  • Handwritten corrections or information that has been crossed out
  • A worn appearance (bent corners, creases, smudges or stains)

Never send your resume without a cover letter!!

Power Words
Words that bring a cover letter to life

Verbs

Achieved
Acquired
Acted
Addressed
Administered
Attained
Advised
Advocated
Applied
Assisted
Attained

Briefed
Brought
Budgeted
Built

Cared
Checked
Coached
Collaborated
Collected
Comforted
Communicated
Compared
Completed
Conducted
Coordinated
Counseled
Created

Delegated
Demonstrated
Developed
Directed
Designed
Displayed
Documented
Drafted
Drove

Edited
Enabled
Encouraged
Ensured
Established
Evaluated
Examined
Expedited

Facilitated
Formulated

Gained
Gathered
Gave
Generated
Guided

Handled
Helped

Identified
Illustrated
Implemented
Improved
Increased
Influenced
Initiated
Installed
Instituted
Instructed
Interacted
Interviewed
Introduced

Judged

Kept

Learned
Led
Logged

Made
Maintained
Managed
Mastered
Mentored
Met
Molded
Monitored

Negotiated

Observed
Obtained
Offered
Operated
Ordered
Organized
Oversaw

Participated
Perfected
Performed
Planned
Prioritized
Produces
Programmed
Promoted
Provided

Ran
Recorded
Recommended
Reported
Researched
Resolved
Revamped
Reviewed

Scheduled
Selected
Set goals
Shaped
Specialized
Strengthened
Studied
Succeeded
Supervised
Supported

Taught
Tested
Trained
Troubleshot

Updated
Utilized Won

Skill Words

Active
Adaptable
Adept

Broad-minded

Committed
Competent
Conscientious
Creative

Dedicated
Dependable
Determined
Diligent
Disciplined
Effective
Efficient
Energetic
Enthusiastic
Exceptional
Experienced

Fair
Familiar
Firm

Honest

Independent
Innovative
Instrumental

Keen

Logical
Loyal

Mature
Methodical

Objective
Open minded
Outgoing

Personable
Pleasant
Positive
Practical
Productive

Receptive
Reliable
Resourceful

Self-motivated
Sensitive
Sincere
Strong
Successful

Tactful
Well-organized

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The Focus Is You