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How NOT to Write a Cover Letter

Excelle and

1. Not Using Standard Business-Letter Format

The student’s cover letter looked more like a cut-and-paste email than a business letter. It had no recipient information, no return address and no date. The letter screamed unprofessional.

What’s YOUR Cover Letter IQ?

Be sure your cover letter uses a standard business letter format. It should include the date, the recipient’s mailing address and your address.

Even if you’re e-mailing it, be sure to include this information. In the body of the e-mail, paste the text of the letter. Then attach (as a PDF to preserve any formatting) the full letter.

#2: It’s Not All About You

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Ctrl+F is FIND..not Replace! Guess the writer of the article didn't do the appropriate homework! (Ctrl+R is Replace.)

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    almost 4 years ago


    I get way to many how to write a cover letter e-mails and all of them are very conflicting. This article just confuses me more. When applying online through Monster or Careerbuilder they do not post an e-mail address, their name, or even where they are located. Sure you can research the location but more business websites still don't list all employees, especially the hiring managers. So it is quite difficult to figuring out who your resume is reaching. However, this article is quite good at making other points no other cover letter e-mail or article I've read, especially about knowing what to put in your cover letter and that it really isn't just about you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    We keep being told that the rules of the game have changed. Every day there is something new. We simply do not have enough jobs to go around. We are still losing more everyday, but...people die, they move. get promoted and they still get fired and/or quit. Surveys show these actions impact about 20% of the workforce every year. That's a couple of million jobs a year which have changed due to attrition.

    Here is something that has not changed in all the years of doing business and getting yourself to work.

    1. You need to know where the company is located.

    Most often, this is where you will be going to work. It adds legitimacy to the whole process. You know how many times people never seek where they are going until 5 mins before they leave and you are already late? Are you really going to trust your computer, mapquest, google, garmin or a GPS to lead you to some place you have never been? Especially for one of the most important meetings of your new career.

    I want to know where I am going so I know how much it will cost me to get there. Go during rush hour so you will not have any issues later on..with money or time. Take the initiative to go in person like it was your job. Investigate as much as you can. Keep a log and write off the expense.

    Look the company up. If the company is that hard to locate, perhaps this is a strong message being sent from the inside. It should never be this hard to locate them and if it is, perhaps what is waiting on the inside is not meant for you. I have researched companies like this and if they are that careless or cautious about being listed, what else may they be trying to hide. You just never know. Like them, skip it and let it go.

    GOOGLE the company name, what message does the employer send in pictures about its employees, average age, ratios of men and women. Just b/c they have a EEOC statement, it does not always translate into fair hiring practices. Sad, but true.

    Look at every page of the website, who we are, what we do, mission statement and look for the company handbook. This can be on a separate web site altoghether. Yeah, I learned about this one the hard way.

    Simply put, you have to be more aggressive and truly know what you are going after. In other words, stop being passive and put some true agressive diligence in your search.

    Resume and Cover Letter, every detail is important... If it means something to you, it will to them as well. Getting it in the right words is the big challenge here. Do not send anything it if it looks like junk mail.
    You throw out things addressed to you as "RESIDENT".

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    I agree with rapture197, some companys don't list their address or emails. or who to send the cover letter too.. the "whom it may conern" sound to much like "who ever reads my cover letter thanks". and yes on #5 true what about if your history is long, you may cut out important information.

  • Crystal_jade_jas_may_2010_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Ok how does this format work when applying on Monster, Hot Jobs, etc? The date is easy enough, and so is your personal address, but how do you go about getting THEIR address when most Job postings have either a contact email, or phone number since you are applying online? Are you saying that for each and every job we apply for online we need to hunt down the companies address? And what if it's a recruiting office or the company that interviews is in a different state or city? I personally think this format was great in the non-digital age, but when I used to hire and go through resumes I didnt care if they had my address on the cover letter or not as I looked for spelling mistakes and if they met my needs since I had hundreds of applications to go through. So wouldn't most employers feel the same way?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    #5 is not always true. if you're fighting to cut your resume down to 1 page it can really look forced and hurt your chances more than keeping it 2 pages

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Because of all the identify fraud that's plaguing this country, I was told to NOT put my address on the cover letter and resume. Instead, I should just include my phone number and/or e-mail address. The less personal contact information that's disclosed, the greater the chance of not being a target for indentity fraud. So now I am totally confused?

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