Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

The Secrets Of Writing A Business Cover Letter

Like all cover letters, business cover letters follow certain norms – such as introducing who you are and what you are looking for in a particular position. But if this were all there was to writing one, there wouldn’t be much else included. So, writing a business cover letter simply boils down to following some down-to-earth, common-sense principles.

For one, cover letters must be composed on high quality bond paper. Next, they must be devoid of typos and grammatical errors. Always include your contact details at the top of the letter, matching that of your resume. Include your street address, phone number and email (important!) so that they can reach you when it is time. Don’t forget to insert the date below the contact information.

The "Three Paragraph Rule" Of Cover Letters

Cover letters should be limited to three paragraphs unless there is a strong reason for extending it beyond this. If you go beyond the "three paragraph rule", you risk boring the reader, who must also actually get to your resume and read it also. Recruiters and employers are notoriously short on time. So you want to get to the point quickly and interest them at the same time.

The three sections/paragraphs form the actual letter, which is where you should concentrate to give the letter your best shot. Generally, many candidates lack knowledge of what to write, which eventually results in unnecessarily long letters. The three sections are the opening, body and closing paragraphs - in that order. The opening section/paragraph should begin with a greeting and limit itself to the position that you are applying for. It should give the reference number or advertisement reference if you are responding to an advertisement – don't make the employer wonder how you came to apply for the job.

Dedicate the second paragraph to giving your key qualifications, work experience, your background and suitability to the job in question. This can include bullet points as well. Close the letter in the last paragraph with a pleasant note setting the option for following up later – better yet, take the initiative and say that you will contact them in x days. End the letter with a thank you and your signature. As you can see, it is imperative that you use the second paragraph to make your point, and make it quickly.

Eliminate Errors

You should proofread the cover letter at least 2-3 times, eliminating the possibility of typographical and grammatical errors. It sounds rather elementary, but you will be surprised at how many candidates simply don't do this. The perfect cover letter is drafted by 2-3 attempts and is free from punctuation and spelling errors – the job killers. The great part is you can always use the first letter as a template for writing subsequent letters for similar positions.

Writing a business cover letter isn't difficult when you have simple rules to follow. Stick to the rules above and you'll soon be writing cover letters that get attention – and results.

- Heather Eagar

Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. If you need cover letter samples and tools, go to www.NothingbutCoverLetters.com. Don't forget to grab your free job search tips at www.JobSearchMasters.com