Preventing The Doomed-Cover-Letter
Poor Letters of Introduction

Avoid the doomed-cover-letter with a killer-cover-page instead as your introductory letter and secure that employment opportunity for the green job or any type of job you are seeking.

A poor letter of introduction won't get you the job interview you hoped for. Needless to say, your resume probably won't get a look either if you can't get past the cover letter stage.

Get the interview you deserve with a letter of introduction that will grab the attention of the employer.

If you think that cover letters are a thing of the past, or for some reason just not all that necessary, think again.

Most employers demand them, and those who aren't specific about it in the first place, are that much more impressed to see one accompanying your resume.

Before you submit your letter, you need to peruse it well, and keep some important considerations in mind. Pretend you are the employer hiring for your own business. Pretend you are anyone for that matter, reading this letter for the very first time.

Think of it in terms of you, the receiver, getting a letter in your mailbox from some unknown person.

What's your initial impression and reaction to it? Would this constitute a doomed-cover-letter if you were hiring?

Is This A Proper Business Letter At All?

Is it a cut & paste email? Does it look like a basic form letter that everyone is getting?

Dead giveaway - Body content extremely vague, and doesn't say anything at all about the position the company is hiring for. In fact, may state information that has nothing to do with this type of company at all.

Obviously, a glaring error.

Did you address the letter to the attention of the person you want to read it?

Did you address them by their proper title/position?

Is there a proper salutation?

Is there a full and complete address?

Have you supplied your return address?

Is the letter dated?

Standard business format should be used at all times. "Microsoft Word" is most commonly used and recognized when emailing.

Do not use stationery. Colored backgrounds with flowers are not appreciated in the business world. Use plain white.

Are you leaving your email address? Take another look at this for an extremely common error seen all over letters and resumes today.

Drop the cutesy/obscene/opinionated etc. email handle.

"sexysusy" or "psychojoe" (and that's pretty mild compared to what I have seen) is just not going to impress at all. This will form an immediate opinion, and chances are, it may not be positive. First and last name only is necessary. Remember your audience, and treat them with respect.
Handwritten cover letters are no-no's.

Customize to the Job You Want,
Using Specific Requirements of the Company Position Advertised

Again, do not send out the same letter with all of your applications.

A doomed-cover-letter is all about you. A good cover letter is about you and about the employer as well.

Present yourself in relation to what the employer is looking for, not what you are looking for entirely. Address how you can fulfill the main job requirement of the position that is being advertised.

Do not forward a photo.

Do not forward tons of documentation with your letter.

Be Able To Back-up Your Claims

Give an example as proof of the skill you can bring to this employer and his company. The doomed-cover-letter doesn't mention anything of this nature.

Poor Grammar, Typing Errors, And Spelling Mistakes

This is the ultimate "dead in the water" scenario.

Anyone reading a letter that contains a multitude of errors immediately concludes the writer isn't able to proof-read, didn't care enough to proof-read or take the time to have someone do it for him.

It indicates carelessness. It indicates an "I don't care about you" attitude, and is considered borderline disrespectful. If this position requires the ability to write anything, the writer obviously isn't capable enough to do so in the opinion of the reader.

If you are sending sloppy work to this employer to look at in resume form, this is a hint of what your work will consist of when working for him.

Someone might say "well, I'm not being hired to write"...Maybe so, but if the employer has a choice, and he will, why not hire someone who can do their job, AND communicate properly in written form as well? If you believe this isn't an issue, it is.

This is a disastrous-cover-page, and this kind of a doomed-cover-letter must be avoided at all costs.

This would also be the absolute worst time to claim to have "strong written and verbal communication skills" as so many do using that standard phrase.

The employer will simply say "I don't think so" and your letter lands in the garbage.

Keep it Brief

I have read many many cover letters over the years. One was 4 pages in length that went into great detail describing family history, marital status, (which wasn't the best if I remember correctly) and went on to give even greater detail of the family finances. Certainly an example of the extreme! Even so, the letter did not address even once, the skills this person possessed which could explain their reasoning behind applying for the job advertised.

And, unfortunately the whole letter itself formed an immediate negative opinion. This was a doomed-cover-letter right from the start.

Likewise, this is not the place to talk about or explain a recent layoff, or show any emotions to that effect.

You may want this job desperately, and most likely you do, otherwise you would not be applying. You may be very needy. This is not the place to convey this. You have to present yourself as confident in the skills you possess, somewhat enthused, and that is all.

Also remember, time is very limited for the employer.

Your letter is one of many (or hopefully one of a very few) that the employer needs to read through or at least scan quickly and decide if you peak further interest. If he has to take more than a minute to find something that interests him, this is a doomed-cover-letter as well, and goes to the bottom of the pile.

Your page needs to be limited to one page only, consisting of maybe 3, no more than 4 paragraphs that are easy to read, and follow.

Stickies and Faxes

A yellow stickie note on a mailed resume that says "here it is" isn't acceptable.

In my opinion, a fax or an email that says "hi, here's my resume" isn't the proper procedure.

A fax or an email that says "please find attached my cover letter and resume" is the proper way to go about it.

Regarding a telephone conversation, and the immediate mailout or fax following it, doesn't mean that the employer still doesn't deserve the courtesy of a proper cover letter. No cover page at all is just as bad as writing a doomed-cover-letter.

crumpled paper

To Summarize

Your cover letter has the purpose of explaining your interest in the position advertised and where you heard about it. It must identify clearly a particular skill briefly that you have to offer.

It has a slightly personal touch and most importantly, creates a good first impression.

It ends with a "thank you" and a mention of how you, the writer, intend to follow-up.

There are many ways to gear a cover letter today in terms of whether or not you are inquiring about possible future job openings, applying for positions that are currently advertised, applying on-line, applying in terms of specific occupations, and the list goes on.

Stick to the above basics of how NOT to write a doomed-cover-letter, and your application has an immediate chance of being noticed over the rest.

How To Write Anything
A comprehensive web site providing step-by-step tutorials on how to write well in many different niches, communicate more effectively, and lead empowered lives. Edited by a Fortune 500 professional writer with over 20 years of experience.

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