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good, clean home typewriter is a satisfactory alternative for your cover letter. On the other hand,
a dot matrix printer or a home typewriter that does not produce clear, crisp letters is unacceptable.
Guidelines for content: there is considerably more latitude in what is considered acceptable
content for a cover letter than there is for a resume. However, don't assume that you need not be
as careful with your cover letters as your resume--it could cost you valuable opportunities. Here
are some guidelines to help you construct great cover letters:
Use proper English and avoid abbreviations and slang.
Use short sentences and common words.
Make your letters more interesting by using action verbs such as "designed," "implemented" and
"increased," rather then passive verbs like "was" and "did."
Personalize each letter. Do not send form letters!
Be sure each letter fits onto a single page. (Actually, the letter should give the appearance of
being half a page long.)
Don't forget to proofread: it is very easy to make mistakes on your cover letters, particularly
when you're writing many in succession. But it is also very easy for a corporate recruiter to
reject out of hand any cover letter that contains errors. Why hire someone who doesn't appear to
take care with such an important piece of correspondence As with your resume, you must
proofread your cover letters carefully--and have a friend proofread them as well.
Avoid messy corrections: try to avoid using correction fluid or making any messy corrections. It
is always a better idea to take the time to retype the letter perfectly.
10 Key Ingredients of Successful Cover Letters
Full Block Style:
Return address: your return address should appear in the top left hand corner, without your
name. As a general rule, you should avoid abbreviations in the addresses of your cover letters,
although abbreviating the state is increasingly common in all business correspondence
The date: the date should either appear two lines beneath your return address or directly under
the return address, on the left hand side of the page. Write out the date; do not use the
abbreviated form. Example: May 12, 1995.
The addressee: always try to find the name and proper title of the addressee before you send out
a cover letter. Two lines beneath the date, list the full name of the addressee preceded by Mr. or
Ms. (do not use Miss or Mrs., even if you happen to know the marital status of the addressee).
On the next line, list the individual's formal title; on the subsequent line, list the name of the
company. This is followed by the company's address, which generally takes two lines.
Occasionally, the individual's full title or the company name and address will be very long, and
can appear awkward on the usual number of lines allocated. In this case, you may prefer using
an extra line.
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source: dornsifecms.usc.edu
Unique Resume Template