Writing a good cover letter on a computer

Should you write a cover letter?

Recently, over 7,000 LinkedIn followers reacted to a simple yet provocative poll question from Hoxo Media’s Joel Lalgee: Is a cover letter worthless?

Of those thousands of respondents, 61% agreed that applicants should not write a cover letter. Ouch.

But, as part of a 17+ year regional staffing agency,  let us stand up in support of the much-maligned cover letter to say: No! A cover letter is NOT worthless. . . but only if it is done right.

What does that mean?

It means that a thoughtful cover letter can set you apart when we are sifting through dozens of resumes. It means a cover letter can help add a little personality to a standard resume, clarify employment gaps or issues, or draw attention to specific skills that would be perfect for the job in question.

A good cover letter also provides us with a brief writing sample which is often important for any jobs in which you will be communicating in writing.

So, while they are not required for any jobs we list, if you would like to include a cover letter, we’ve put together a few “do’s and don’ts” for you to consider:

Dos and Don’ts for writing a good cover letter

  1. Do double check that you’re addressing your letter to the right company (you’d be surprised at how many people forget this step!)
  2. Don’t forget to mention the job in which you are interested; if you would like to be considered for a range of jobs in, say, “accounting”, please state that.
  3. Do have a trusted friend reread your cover letter to look for errors or areas to clarify.
  4. Don’t make your cover letter too long; keep it all to one page! Think of this as a quick “hello”, not a full sit-down presentation.
  5. Do spell-and-punctuation check everything!
  6. Don’t forget proper cover letter formatting.
  7. Do let your personality shine through! Read your letter out loud to make sure you don’t sound like a robot.
  8. Don’t write your cover letter in Comic Sans unless you’re applying to be a preschool teacher. (though, even then. . .nah)
  9. Do mention something about the company to which you are applying or something specific in the job listing that appeals to you. We like to know you’ve taken the time to think about this specific job.
  10. Don’t stress too much over your cover letter! Your resume is really the focus when we are considering you for a job. Think of your cover letter as just a quick intro that provides a little extra polish. But, if you are absolutely not comfortable writing one, know that we will not penalize you for not writing one.

 

Upload your resume (with or without a cover letter) and be considered for any of our upcoming job openings.

 

 

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