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  • Do’s and Don’ts of Cover Letters

    You should use a cover letter whenever you apply for a job. Usually, companies ask you to also send a cover letter in addition to your resume so they can have a better idea about your personal brand, skills and experience as well as what you are looking for and what values you can bring to the company.

    A cover letter is usually three paragraphs. The first is an opening paragraph in which you introduce yourself and state why you are applying for this position. The second paragraph is the body of the letter, and it is the most important part of a cover letter which you can show your personal brand. This paragraph lists your experience related to the job you are applying for, why you think you’re a good candidate for that position, and what values you can bring to the company. The third, closing paragraph is where you give the reader a call to action. You state your phone number and e-mail address so the person reading the letter can follow up with you. Keep in mind that a great cover letter is usually less than one page.

    It is important to always have a different cover letter for each application. You shouldn’t be generic. You should be very specific about the job you are applying for to show that you are a good fit for that position; that you are truly interested in working in that position; and that you will bring more experience to that company because employers are looking for what values you can bring to their company. You can certainly have a general cover letter template, but I recommend that you edit that template for each position you are applying for to tailor it for that position.

    Let me tell you a story regarding a candidate who applied for a position in my friend’s office.  My friend said “The person who applied to our office was denied, with good qualifications, because she did not change the address and the organization in her cover letter. She applied to another company and she sent the same letter to us without changing the name of the organization.”

    This is one of the most common mistakes made by job seekers. They usually send out so many applications that sometimes they forget to update their cover letters according to the position that they are applying for. Always have a final check of your applications before hitting the send button.

    Also, making a cover letter generic is a big mistake because most job seekers usually prepare one cover letter and send it off with every job application. You should make your cover letter very specific to the job description. Also, a cover letter shouldn’t be too long or too short—you should find the appropriate size.


    Ceren Cubukcu is a top 5 bestselling author of Make Your American Dream A Reality: How to Find a Job as an International Student in the United States. She recently founded her consulting business to help more international students find jobs in the US in addition to her self-service digital event ticketing platform, Etkinlik Fabrikam (My Event Factory), to be able to offer her webinars in her home country. You can follow her via Facebook or contact her via www.cerencubukcu.com/contact.


    Ceren Cubukcu is a top 5 bestselling author of Make Your American Dream A Reality: How to Find a Job as an International Student in the United States. She recently founded her consulting business to help more international students find jobs in the US in addition to her self-service digital event ticketing platform, Etkinlik Fabrikam (My Event Factory), to offer her webinars. You can follow her via Facebook or contact her via www.cerencubukcu.com/contact .

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    Posted in Job Search, Personal Branding, Recruitment, Success Strategies
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    6 comments on “Do’s and Don’ts of Cover Letters
    1. avatar
      TSteele says:

      I enjoyed your article, but having trouble stating what my “personal brand” is, because I am attempting to change careers and have many interests. One problem I have been having, especially with my target company, is coming up with names for the people who will be deciding on who get the interviews, even coming up with the recruiter names.

      • avatar
        Ceren Cubukcu says:

        Focus on the names you have and ask them if they can send your resume to their recruiters.

    2. avatar
      David White says:

      Great post!
      I’ve been researching about this very topic, so thanks very much for putting this together. Kudos!

    3. avatar
      Amy Smith says:

      I understand that job hunting is quite a daunting tasks. However, applicants should put in a lot of effort in their resumes. After all, this acts as their marketing tool.

    4. avatar
      Brett says:

      I agree, the cover letter should not be taken lightly, its usually the most important factor in getting an interview. I dedicated an entire blog to it: How to Start a Cover Letter

    5. avatar
      Iris says:

      Making a generic cover letter and using it for different job applications is a big no..no! Chances are it won’t get to feel like it’s tailor made for the specific job. If there’s just one thing I learn from the don’ts for cover letters, this will be it.

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