Cover Letter Writing Tips
Top 10 Cover Letter Tips - by Damon Brown and Kay
Peterson, Ph.D., Fastweb.com
Tip 1: Keep it brief.
Your letter should not go over one page. Use short paragraphs and
bullet points whenever possible. Avoid flowery or excessive words when
fewer words will get your point across equally well.
Tip 2: Be assertive and proactive.
Explain what special skills and qualities you can bring to the job.
Don't explain what the job will do for you. Avoid empty cliches, such
as “I am a self-starter” or “I'm a people person.” Use active words
and phrases. Avoid “are” and “is.”
Tip 3: Tailor the cover letter to the specific company.
Don't write generic praise about the school district. Be as specific
as you can and demonstrate your knowledge of the district. Research
the district using its own web site or public information. Check news
sources for recent school events that you can reference in your
Tip 4: Revise your cover letter for each application.
Different aspects of your background will fit different jobs. Focus on
relevant job experiences and skills. For instance, an employer for a
science teaching position probably would’t be interested in your
Tip 5: When writing about non-professional experiences, translate them
Explain how your class-related, extracurricular, or volunteer
activities have prepared you for other kinds of work. Compare:
"I was president of the SEA."
"In my term as president of the SEA, I developed valuable leadership
skills as I organized a ten person team to undertake fundraising
Tip 6: Address your letter to an individual rather than a department.
Call the school directly to identify the proper addressee. Use formal
language (Mr., Ms., Dr.) when addressing them, and never just their
first name—even if you know them personally.
Tip 7: Appearances count.
Use high-quality white paper; it’s thicker than typewriter or printer
paper. Avoid elaborate or colored stationery. Print a clean final copy
to send, not a photocopy.
Tip 8: Let the employer be the judge of your skills.
State your skills and qualifications, but don’t tell the employer that
you are the best person for the job. It can appear arrogant and
presumptuous. Impress the employer with your skills, and let them
conclude you are the best person for the job.
Tip 9: Proofread!
Typos will land your letter in the trash. Check grammar and the
spellings of names. Have somebody else read your letter—they can pick
up on things missing from your letter. Before mailing, make sure
you’ve included your resume and any other requested items.
Tip 10: Follow up with a thank-you note.
A thank-you note demonstrates your interest in the job and will help
them keep you in mind for the position.
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