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Interviewers often screen resumes based on the cover letters alone, they may never look at resumes that don’t have a cover letter. So, a well written cover letter is one way to set yourself apart from many other job seekers. Her are some things you can do to help insure that YOUR resume goes in to the “must read” pile.

1. Be brief. One page is usually best.

2. Be proactive. Say what you can do for the company. Avoid trite phrases.

3. Don’t write to everyone. Tailor each letter to each individual. Use names and titles and make sure the spelling is correct.

4. Make each letter fits the situation. When applying for varied positions use aspects of your experience that fit specific job requirements. Don’t generalize.

5. Use appropriate business language; avoid slang or abbreviations.

6. When at all possible address your cover letter to the hiring manager, not the human resource department; You can research to get that information. And, again, make sure names and titles are spelled correctly.

7. Keep it in black and white or perhaps light cream color stationery. Avoid colorful paper and designs.

8. The employer is the decision maker, not you. Although you can and should state your key skills and qualifications you should not state that you are the best person for the job.

9. Proofread your letter before sending. Proofread again. Then, have someone else proofread it. Nothing will land your letter and resume in the trash quicker than a typo.

10. Follow up within a reasonable time after sending your cover letter and certainly follow up with a thank you after you hear from the hiring company.

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