Cheat sheet: How to write a cover letter

Simple steps for getting a strong cover letter written

Yes, in case you were wondering, you still need to write a cover letter, and it's not even that hard once you get the basics down.

It’s true: The best cover letters are short, to the point and grab your potential employer's attention, notes Harvard Business Review. Remember, it's not a rehash of your resume, you don't have to write a book.

HBR outlines the few sacred principles of the modern cover letter, one of the biggest being the need to open strong.

Forget that old chestnut: "I'm applying for the _______ position I saw on ________." They know you want the job, you're sending them a resume. Stating the obvious just wastes precious space.

Instead, “Start with the punch line — why this job is exciting to you and why you’re right for it,” career expert Jodi Glickman tells HBR. “Say something direct and dynamic, such as ‘Before you read any further, let me draw your attention to two reasons why you might want to hire me….’ "

One important Don't: Don't try to be funny. Just like with e-mail, humor can easily be misinterpreted.

"Humor can often fall flat or sound self-regarding,” notes career strategist John Lees.

Click below for advice on how to best emphasize your value to the company, convey enthusiasm without sounding like a suck-up and what to do when you can't submit a cover letter due to an online application process.

via Harvard Business Review

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