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How to Write the Start (and End) to a Resume Cover Letter

How to write a cover letter

How to Write the Start (and End) to a Resume Cover Letter. (Greencolander, CC3.0)

To Whom it may concern,

“I am writing to express interest in the <Insert Job Title> position at <Insert Company Name> … “

I’ve written that greeting a few times in my life, but apparently that’s a bad way to begin a cover letter, according to Jane Ashen Turkewitz, president, T & Jam Resume Services, and managing editor of Let’s Talk Turkey, a blog about head hunters.

Among her tips for Tips for Writing Killer Cover Letters, she addressed the openers and suggested those like mine would lead to poor results. Everyone knows that you saw an ad and you are applying for a job, she said. “This is not news.” Instead, Turkewitz recommends a job seeker get right to the point.

“If the ad is for a marketing manager with 5+ years experience in the legal arena, start off by saying, “I am a marketing professional with 5 years of experience working for a Top 10 law firm. …”

The advice sounds strong; right in the opening, you’ve explained that you meet the qualifications and the hiring manager should review this resume.

And then there’s the question of how to close the prose. Many choose the passive route. “I look forward to hearing from you on this matter” is one I’ve seen more than once … maybe even on my own scribbled cover letters.

The passive approach takes the job seeker out of the driver’s seat and leaves him waiting by the phone wondering when it is OK to follow up, Turkewitz said. The better approach is to be proactive, to let the hiring manager know that you will follow up.

If you want to get a job, it’s your job to do the follow-up. The end of your letter should say something to the effect of:

  • “I will call you in a few days to discuss the possibility of my candidacy further. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at …”
  • “I will call you next week to discuss next steps. Don’t hesitate to call me at any time at 212 …”
  • “I will call you in a few days to set up a possible interview. Please feel free to call me with any questions at 212 …

Click here to read all of Turkewitz’s cover-letter tips on Let’s Talk Turkey.

Have a cover letter tip to share? I look forward to hearing from you on this matter in the comments below. (I guess passive is my only option there.)

(Letter Writing by Greencolander, CC3.0)

For more on writing resumes and cover letters:

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One comment for “How to Write the Start (and End) to a Resume Cover Letter”

  1. [...] How to Write the Start (and End) to a Resume Cover Letter [...]

    Posted by The Machine Ate My Resume | | May 14, 2009, 1:51 pm

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