Job applications generally consist of two documents: The resume and the cover letter. While resumes have a set form, cover letters seem to have free reign. Creativity is always a good thing when it comes to cover letter writing, but there are still some guidelines you need to follow.
According to Bruce A. Hurwitz, vice president of New York City-based Joel H. Paul & Associates, Inc., you shouldn’t go overboard with creativity when crafting your cover letter. Speaking at a recent Fundraising Day in New York, Hurwitz unveiled his cover letter ground rules checklist. It consisted of six key recommendations:
- Short and sweet. This isn’t your college thesis and potential employers don’t have time to read a novel. Keep your cover letter to the point.
- Use bullets. Bullet points draw the eye to the most important information.
- Credentials. Tell them why you would be the perfect fit for the job. Point out how you’ve solved problems or made decisions at prior jobs.
- Contact information. Papers get separated. Make sure your contact information is on the cover letter. Try not to include any ridiculous e-mail addresses.
- In closing. Hurwitz said to have an appreciative close to the letter. It shows you are grateful to be considered for the position.
- Proofread. Spelling mistakes will put you in the “no” pile fast. Spell check, proofread, give it to someone else to proofread and then repeat. There’s no room for errors.