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How To Write A Cover Letter: 7 Rules
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So you think you know how to write a cover letter. Many people have written cover letters, but don’t know some of the basic rules. Do you know what the seven basic rules for how to write a cover letter are?

Rule #1: Never lie.

The most important rule in writing cover letters is never lie. Somehow you will be found out. People have lost their jobs for lying on a resume or cover letter, so don’t risk being one of them.

Rule #2: Study the job posting.

Take the time to read and re-read the ad or job posting you are responding to. The first reason is the make sure you actually want to apply for this job and you are reasonably qualified for the job. The second reason is so that you figure out what are the most important requirements in the employer’s mind. Make a list of these qualifications. This will help you with Rule #3.

Rule #3: Tailor every cover letter for every job you apply to.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when learning how to write a cover letter is that every cover letter you write must be crafted for the specific job you are applying to. When I read job cover letters and the person’s first sentence tells me about some skill they have that has nothing to do with the job I am hiring for, I have no incentive to read any more. They may be well-qualified, but they haven’t shown me that.

What you want to do is take the list you made following Rule #2 and match those requirements up with your skills and experience. These are the things you want to talk about in your cover letter.

Rule #4: Follow the instructions exactly.

If they say “Put a reference to Job Posting X3-765q in the first sentence,” then your first sentence should read something like “I am applying for the position of Fork Lift Operator mentioned in Job Posting X3-765q.” Whatever the instructions are, follow them.

Rule #5: Tell them what you can do for them

Job seekers who know how to write a cover letter understand that companies are looking for people who want to work hard and make a contribution, not just collect a paycheck. So tell them that’s what you want to do. Do a little research to find out what their corporate goals are, and include a sentence toward the end of your letter that states you want to use your abilities to help the company in some way. At the very least say something like “I want to use my skills and experience to help XYZ Corporation meet its sales goals.”

Rule #6: Don’t fall for hidden traps.

The job posting may be fun and even have some jokes in it. But unless you are applying for a job as a comedian, don’t fill your letter with humor. The person who reads the cover letters might not be the same person who wrote or approved the job posting. Instead of taking your sense of humor as a sign you’ll fit in with the company, they may think you are not taking the idea of work seriously. Save the humor for the interview, when if a joke falls flat you have a chance to make up for it.

Rule #7: Check your Work

Make sure you have no, as in zero, mistakes in your cover letter. No typos, no spelling errors, no grammar mistakes. Get someone else to read over your letter and ask them if your letter is clear and error free.

So how many of the rules on how to write a cover letter did you know? Here’s one thing that helped me learn how to write a cover letter that get job interviews.


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