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The Do’s and Don’ts of Cover Letters

Credit: US News and World Report

By: Neena Zona, Account Executive of American Indian Powwow

Cover letters can often be a deciding factor on whether an employer decides to call you back for an interview or pass you along for someone else. That being said, cover letters can be quite intimidating. A cover letter allows freedom that you do not get with a resume, but that freedom can cause you to go off path and turn it into something that will not get you a callback. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts that will ensure your cover letter does not get pushed aside.

  1. Do personalize your letter

            One of the biggest mistakes that can be made when writing a cover letter is not personalizing it. You should typically write a new cover letter for every job that you apply for. Believe me, your future employer can tell if this is the cover letter that you sent out with all your previous applications.

  1. Do proofread

            Yes, this is pretty obvious but something that is often overlooked. Word’s spellcheck will not catch every mistake you make. It also does not hurt to have a couple friends or your professor proofread it for you, they might catch something you overlooked. In the world of public relations, submitting a cover letter with misspelled words is a sure sign that you will not be hearing back from that company.

  1. Don’t restate your resume

            A cover letter serves the purpose of complimenting your resume while allowing you more freedom in what you say. Do not waste this precious space by repeating your resume. There would be no point in having a cover letter if it was a mirror of what they are about to read. Your future employers are busy people and do not want their time to be wasted by reading the same thing twice.

  1. Don’t end passively

            When ending your cover letter say something like “I will follow up with an email next week” and actually follow through. This will show that you are serious about this job. Ending your cover letter with “I will wait to hear from you” might have you waiting much longer than you anticipated.

Above all a cover letter is a way to answer the question of why this company should hire you, so make sure you prove yourself! If you follow these simple do’s and don’ts you can increase your chances of scoring your dream job or internship.


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