Creating a crafty cover letter is crucial to finding yourself in the “keep pile” on future employers’ desks; with the Career Development Center (CDC) and a few cover letter dos and don’ts you can get the job.
Prospective employers refer to a different English idiom than most; they say: “Judge a book by its cover.” Think of a well-written paper, a perfect presentation or even an encore-producing performance. Introduction is critical to connect with an audience or reader.
“A cover letter is your opportunity to share more of your voice – to what you’ve done, more of you.” said Amanda Hall, Career Peer, employed in UVU’s Career Lab under the direction of the CDC. Sue Stephenson, Career Counselor of the CDC said, “You’re trying to introduce your resume.” While understanding the purpose of a cover letter, we can look at some dos and don’ts.
Use correct grammar. Take care of it. Grammar mistakes will land your cover letter, resume and credibility in the trash quicker than any other error. Your cover letter should include appropriate language and vocabulary for the job you are applying for. The CDC’s employees and services can aid you in finding just the right word and placing just the right comma.
Use good voice. A cover letter is a perfect opportunity to show, for one, your writing skills— especially if applicable to the position of interest—and two, a small professional portion of your personality and emotion. Your resume will highlight and show your skills, education and accomplishments. The cover letter should be used to portray the person that has those skills, education and accomplishments.
Be direct. Do basic research and find who will be reading your email or cover letter. Address the cover letter to them specifically, using their title and name. If not available, the CDC’s Cover Letter hand out and PDF suggest using “Dear selection committee.”
Don’t send one. Literally, don’t send a cover letter—in the case that a cover letter was not requested. This could be seen as overzealous and possibly convey that you do not pay close attention to directions or details. Some employers might want a simple email or note with a well- put together resume. Stephenson shared that the use and accessibility to LinkedIn, social media and blogs have changed the need for cover letters in some cases.
Don’t be a repeat offender. Putting your resume in paragraph form does you no good. Stephenson says you should use pertinent and exciting facts that make your resume a must read. Don’t simply reuse information and facts about yourself.
Don’t mass-produce. Mass produced cover letters will certainly be seen for what they are: vague, simple and well, mass-produced. Employers are looking for original and unique. Set aside time to research and develop cover letters for each position you are applying for.
Remember, prospective employers do judge books by their covers. Don’t be misread.
For more information and assistance visit the Career Development Center staff in LC-409, or online at http://www.uvu. edu/cdc/