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‘How long should my cover letter be?’ and other questions

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In this article, I will be answering some of the questions that frequently come up in conversations I have with clients regarding cover letters.

Q: How long should my cover letter be?

–          I would suggest a cover letter doesn’t exceed one page in length. Many employers in fact have explicit one-page requirements for applicants’ cover letters.

Q: Can I send the same letter with minor adjustments to different employers?

–          Never ever send the same cover letter to different organisations. This is the key reason why many applicants never hear back from potential employers. Your letter must be carefully tailored to the position in question (along with your CV).

Q: What is the best way to end my cover letter?

–          Try to be creative about how you finish your letter to stand out from the crowd. You could, for instance, add an interesting fact about your achievements in your previous job, or mention how you know the person in charge of the recruitment process. I would also suggest to always thank the recruiting person for their time and consideration.

Q: How should I address a cover letter if I don’t know the hiring manager’s name?

–          You could try to find this information on LinkedIn – it’s a great tool to source the names and (sometimes) contact details of people. Often a simple Google search can yield good results as well. It is a great idea to try and utilise your professional network and ask around about the company and the management. No matter what you do, don’t put ‘to whom it may concern’ on your letter. If everything fails and you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, then ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ should do the job.

Q: What are some top tips for writing a high quality cover letter?

–          Always proofread what you have written.

–          Have it looked at by somebody with relevant industry experience.

–          Write in full sentences. Never abbreviate.

–          Use simple language – eschew obfuscation.

–          Express your enthusiasm for the job!

One Thought on “‘How long should my cover letter be?’ and other questions

  1. Rashal on May 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm said:

    I am really searching for some solution about cover letters, this post helped me because this is exactly what I have been looking for. Thanks for an informative post.

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