Pick Me! Pick Me!

Top Five Tips for Writing a Great Cover Letter (and landing that perfect part-time job)

By Gina Beckman, 10 til 2 Marketing Director

Before you land your dream position, whether it is a full-time or part-time job, you need to nail the interview. Before you nail the interview, you need to get an interview. And before you get an interview you need to wow them with your resume and cover letter. Since you likely already have some sort of resume sitting in your laptop raring to go, this post is going to concentrate solely on the art of a great cover letter.

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. A resume is a comprehensive list of your career background and work history; a cover letter is, um, not. When writing a cover letter, it is simply a waste of time and space to reiterate the bullet points from your resume. The best cover letters are formal yet engaging essays that reflect on the compatibility of your skills, accomplishments and background with the requirements of the open job.

NO TYPOS. How many times should I repeat this? No typos, no typos, no typos! There is absolutely nothing that will turn off a potential employer faster than a bunch of misspelled words and poorly constructed sentences. Everybody whacks the wrong key sometimes, so it is mandatory that you not only use your spell check, but also carefully read your cover letter aloud and ask a trusted friend or colleague to give it the once-over. For a good laugh, go online and do a search for lousy cover letters. Oh, and one last thing about typos… no typos, no typos, no typos!

BE RESPECTFUL. Whether you are requesting an interview for your dream position, a lateral move or a part-time job, always be respectful toward the company and the position you are seeking. Never include terms like “Although I am clearly overqualified…” or “I know this position is a step down for me.” It is also important to never include anything that can be construed as negative about a past employer.

KNOW THE COMPANY. A great way to show a possible employer that you are a proactive, intelligent job candidate is to include some of your research on the company and perhaps your perspective on its position in the industry. This distinctly tells HR directors and hiring managers that you have done your homework and that you are not simply submitting a barrage of resumes to every business with a job posting.

ASK FOR THE INTERVIEW. At the end of every well-tailored cover letter should be a request for an interview. “I would love to meet with you to discuss how I can add to your team at Widgets, Inc.” or “I am available next Thursday or Friday and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you.” And after having crafted a well-composed, engaging cover letter, your chances of landing that interview have vastly increased!

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