Lake Superior State University
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Cover Letters

12 Tips For Writing Effective Cover Letters

1. Type each letter individually. Use an electric typewriter or word processor. If you can't do it yourself; ask a friend or hire a word processing service.
2. Address the employing officer by name and, if possible, by title. Research names in the library or call the organization. With so many institutional changes these days, it never hurts to call the organization to verify who is presently in the position and double check the spelling and title.
3. Catch the employer's attention by opening your letter with a strong statement. An employer receives hundreds of letters a month, and you want yours to be the one that is read.
4. Keep your letter short. It should be one page with five to six paragraphs. It will hold the employer's interest and save you substantial time and cost in typing expense.
5. Use the center of your letter to arouse the employer's curiosity by stating brief facts about your experience and accomplishments.
6. Include clues that hiring you will lead to higher production, greater efficiency, and better performance by focusing on the self-interest of the person to whom you are writing.
7. Try to include a challenging thought that will cause the employer to feel that meeting you would be worthwhile even if there are no present openings.
8. Be direct in requesting an interview or state that you will call to arrange a meeting. Letters should ask for something, and the most common thing to request is an interview.
9. Sign and date your cover letter.
10. Plan on mailing a group of letters all at the same time. If you will be mailing 50 letters and you think it will take you one month to complete all 50, date all the letters with the future completion date. When all the letters are completed, mail them. It is too confusing to follow up if they have been mailed randomly. Also, if you were to receive three job offers, you would want them to occur at the same time so that you can judge which is best for you.
11. When mailing a group of letters, prepare one for yourself and mail it with the others. You will have a good idea that the employers have received their letters when you receive yours. Add a day or two to allow for traveling through the organization's mail room before you follow up.
12. When mailing a batch of letters, or even one, try to think when your letter will arrive so as to receive maximum attention. Most employers receive their heaviest mail on Mondays. On Fridays, they may be more concerned with winding up the week rather than investigating new employees. Mail your letter so that it will arrive in the employers' offices on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday
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