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Writing a cover letter(part 2)

A few tips

Use simple, uncomplicated language and sentence structure. Don't try to sound like someone else, particularly if that means using unnaturally formal language, convoluted sentences and words you've never used before (perhaps misusing them in the process). You may mean to impress, but you'll often sound awkward. Write as you would speak.

Be specific and get to the point.

Your cover letter must be intriguing enough to get the reader to look at your CV, but should be only an introduction to the CV, not a repeat of it. Make sure you answer the question, "Why should I hire this person?"

Avoid using clichés, like "I've taken the liberty of enclosing my CV," or "I'm a people person." It's difficult to sell yourself as unique if your letter reads like every other one in the pile.

Be positive.

Don't complain about your boss or describe your present or previous work experience as "boring." Nobody wants to hire somebody with an attitude. Above all, don't sound like you're begging for a job. A hiring manager may wonder why you're so desperate. Be confident, but not arrogant. Don't be negative or too humble. Tell them you're qualified for the job, but don't demand it. Don't profess to know more about the company than you really do.

Type your letter, but beware of the dangers of word processing.

If you send a similar letter to several companies, make sure that you change all customised statements accordingly; no company wants to read how much you'd like to work for their competitor. Carefully read each letter before you sign it.

Proofread.

Check carefully for grammar and spelling mistakes, then check again.

Sign it.

If you forget this, the employer may feel like you've sent a form letter.

Package it nicely.

Print your CV and cover letter on the same paper stock; the uniformity will look professional. Use only printers that produce neat, readable text with no stray marks or smudges.

Keep one for yourself.

Make a copy of each letter sent, and keep it for future reference.

<<Part 1

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