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How to Write Clearly

How to Write Clearly

ADVICE TO HELP YOU WRITE CLEARLY AND CONCISELY

BLOG BY NICK WRIGHT of EDITORSOFTWARE.COM

 

StyleWriter can show you how to write a strong, convincing resume cover letter

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - page 1 of 2

Writing a strong resume cover letter

A resume cover letter has one aim: To help you get an interview and so increase your chances of landing that job. It’s your opening move.

Your resume cover letter must make an impact, interest employers in you and place you in the top ten. Remember, the resume cover letter is there to sell—to sell you by showing what you have to offer the employer. You have to be positive, outgoing, confident and assured. Add this attitude to the professional techniques presented here and you have a sure-fire formula for success. The reward will be more interviews, better job prospects and employment in your chosen career.

Plan your Resume Cover Letter

You must take time to plan your resume cover letter and resume. Prospective employers want information about you to see how you match the their needs.

Take a step back and think before you write. Ask: What can I offer the employer? You need to find the most relevant, specific accomplishments or skills you have to compel the employer to interview you. Your cover letter impress this information on the reader’s so you rise to the top of the list of prospective interviews.

So the first step is to draw up the specific content to use in your cover letter. The better you do this, the better the result and your chances of success.

Example of a Cover Letter

A cover letter tailors your qualifications to the job on offer. You have the reader's attention for about 20 seconds—so keep it short and to the point. Write it so strongly the employer wants to offer you an interview before reading the details of your resume. The cover letter should work hard for you, covering the essential information and selling you as the best candidate for the post. Compare these two cover letter examples.

EXAMPLE OF STANDARD COVER LETTER

John Noakes
1221 Stave Avenue
Washington CD 22090

Dear Sir or Madam

I was interested in the position of Sales Executive advertised in a recent issue of Computer Monthly and wish to be considered for the post.

I have attached my resume and would be happy to attend an interview at a mutually convenient time.

Yours sincerely

John Noakes


EXAMPLE OF PROFESSIONALLY WRITTEN COVER LETTER

John Noakes
1221 Stave Avenue
Washington DC 22090

Sales Executive advertised in
Computer Monthly

Dear Mr Johns

Joining Datacom’s Sales Team

I would like to join Datacom Office Equipment as your new Sales Executive and bring to your organization my 12 years of experience working on international corporate clients for Bestdata.

My training at Bestdata helped me become Regional Sales Representative of the Month four times in two years. After my promotion to North-East Regional Sales Manager, we improved training for sales representatives, revamped our marketing strategy and moved into direct selling on the Internet. Sales increased by 30 per cent in the next year.

Many of these ideas apply to Datacom's product range, especially the innovative portable telephones and fax machines you recently launched in the trade press.

I'd be happy to discuss these ideas at an interview. Could we arrange an interview in early June when I am in New York?

Yours sincerely

John Noakes

Enclosed: Resume

The standard letter is easy to write but does nothing to get you an interview. The professionally drafted alternative is harder to write but well worth it. We'll use this letter in the following pages to explain the professional writing techniques you should use.

Write a professional letterhead for your cover letter.

Take the information on name and address, use another font and type size and you can instantly created a better looking and more professional letter. Simple, but effective. Then use quality paper for both your cover letter and your resume.

Keep the administrative information out of the first paragraph

Employers want to know what position you are applying for and where you saw the advertisement. So we usually list this information in the opening sentence of the first paragraph with such a standard sentence such as: I wish to apply for the position of Research Director advertised in the June issue of Employment News. Although this is clear and to the point, you need a more powerful opening paragraph — one that makes you stand out. Place the administrative information above the body of the letter or as a reference. This frees you up to write a more powerful opening paragraph.

Write a positive, action heading with a strong verb.

Use the journalistic technique of putting verbs in your headings. This lets you start your letter by suggesting an action. In the professionally written example above, having the verb joining as the first word of the heading shows confidence — so important in a candidate for a sales post.

List your key achievements

Use your last sentence in your second paragraph to show what you achieved. If this is a sales job, it's how you increased sales. If it's for an auditing job, it's what you saved the company. If it's a public relations position, it's the result of the publicity campaign you organized. By putting this information at the end of the paragraph, it's the one piece of information the reader will remember. Once the employer has been through 30 applications, you want him or her to remember you, in our example above, as the person who improved sales by 30 per cent.

Use the third paragraph to compliment the reader and personalize the cover letter

You must flatter and compliment your prospective employer, not by gushing adjectives, but simply by talking about the employer's organization. It shows you're knowledgeable and interested. It shows you can match your skills to their needs. It shows this cover letter is to them and to no one else.

 

 

 

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