When writing your cover letter, keep in mind that the reviewer is only interested in one thing: the facts. Do not think of your cover letter as an autobiography1; it should be brief and to the point. The purpose of the cover letter (and resume) should be one thing – it should demonstrate that you meet or exceed the requirements listed in the job description. It should demonstrate that youre interested in the position, and that youre available to accept the position if offered. Additional information beyond this can be counterproductive, as it dilutes2 the core purpose of the cover letter.
When writing the cover letter, avoid negatives. A cover letter is not the place to explain why you left or are leaving an employer, why there are gaps in your employment dates, etc. These negatives are best delivered in person during the interview so that your personality can counter them.
Try to avoid a salary history in the cover letter. Even if the position specifically asks for your salary history, providing this information will more likely cost you a job than not. If the job ad specifically says that resumes without a salary history will not be considered, give a historical salary range, and state that your salary requirements are flexible based on the opportunity the position will provide.
Spend time thinking about the layout of your letter, and make sure that its easy on the eyes. It should be easy to scan the letter, and have a logical progression. Keep in mind, the reviewer of your cover letter and resume has hundreds (if not thousands) of cover letters and resumes to look at, so make it easy for him/her to find the information you want to highlight. Bunched up text in long paragraphs will frustrate3 anyone who has to review hundreds of resumes and cover letters a week. In addition to the layout, dont just repeat your resume. Your cover letter is not a summary of your resume; instead, its an introduction of yourself, and an argument for why you are the best candidate for their company and the specific position. Above all, avoid the generic4 cover letter that you get from books.
1. My reason for leaving my present employment is that I am desirous of getting broader experience in trading.
2. My reason for leaving the company is that I wish to get into the advertising1 business.
3. I am leaving our office to be with my aged2 mother and care for her in a distant city.
4. My reason for leaving my present employment is because I see no chance of advancement3.
5. I am desirous of leaving the office in order to gain more experience in an exporters office.
6. I am desirous of leaving the employment in order to improve my position and have more responsibility.
7. I left them a fortnight ago, owing to a disagreement with the president Mr. Liu.
8. I left the position with the desire of improving my position.
9. I left the office on account of the discontinuance of the business.
10. I left the company because I found a full-time4 job after graduation.
11. The only reason why I am leaving the present position is I want to better myself.
12. Unfortunately I have had to leave my position, as my employers have been forced to liquidate5 their business due to the worldwide economic adversity.
13. The only reason why I am leaving the present position is to gain more experience in a trading office.
16. I now wish to enter an office where the work requires greater individual responsibility and judgment6 than here, and where there is more opportunity for advancement.