SPECIAL REPORT: Three Easy Steps to Getting the Job Offer of Your Dreams!

Here's the second portion of our special report...

STEP 2: Customize Your Cover Letter to the Employer

Customizing your resume is not enough. You also need to customize the cover letter you send with it.

First, customize the person you're sending it to. Show that you care enough about getting the job to find out who'll be reviewing your packet. Don't use a generic greeting like, "Dear Sir or Madam" or "Dear Recruiter" unless you have to. And please... NEVER use "To Whom It May Concern." When I'd see those letters come across my desk, I'd think, "It doesn't concern me..." and pitch 'em!

Here's another great article on writing cover letters...

7 Deadly Cover Letter Writing Sins

By Vincent Czaplyski

Don't start off your job search with one (or more) strikes against you by committing any of these common cover letter blunders. Each is easy to avoid, but they can sink your chances of an interview if you include them in your letter.

  1. Sending your letter to the wrong person, location, or department.
    Do you really want your letter to land you a job at the company you're sending it to? Then take the time to verify that you have the proper name, title and address for thehiring manager or other decision maker who should receive it.
    Unless you're absolutely sure you already have the most up-to-date contact information, take a few minutes to call andask. Otherwise you may as well not bother sending your letter - it most likely won't reach the intended recipient. And if it does, he or she won't be impressed that you didn't bother to take this simple step.

  2. Irritating your potential employer with a pushy, arrogant or conceited tone to your letter.

    Are you truly God's gift to humanity? If not, chances are you ought to come across with a bit of humility, not braggadocio. Save the "I am too good for you not to hire me" stuff for when you're bragging to your friends about the great job you just landed. (Even they probably won't beimpressed - and they already like you!) Instead, let your accomplishments and skills speak for themselves.

  3. Typos, misspellings, punctuation or grammatical errors.
    There's no excuse for leaving any of these mistakes in a cover letter (or a resume for that matter). If such matters truly aren't your strong suit, ask a friend to look yourletter over for you. Blatant errors like these are just one more reason for a hiring manager to shunt your resume and cover letter aside, never to be seen again. Why? Because they'll think you are too lazy, too uncaring or too unskilled to be a good fit at their company.

  4. Writing rambling, unfocused sentences and paragraphs.
    Few hiring managers want to think they're reading a newly discovered missing page from James Joyce's Ulysses. Especially when all they really want to understand is whythey should read the enclosed resume. Tightly written sentences and three or four short paragraphs that communicate the answer to that question will help ensureyour resume gets read, not tossed.

  5. Writing long letters, even if well focused and well written.
    Here's a good rule to live by: Don't go over one page. It's a cover letter, not your autobiography. Capture your reader's attention quickly and impress him or her with your well written main points. Then let your resume do the rest of the talking. Until the interview of course.

  6. Writing a letter that is all about you, and not about what you can do for your prospective employer.
    Do you listen to WIFM? Sure you do. That's What's In it For Me, the little radio station in our heads that everyone listens to, including the person who receives your letter. Your potential employer wants to know what you can do for him or her, not the other way around. Make sure your letterhighlights why you will be able to help their company sell more widgets, design better satellites or otherwise make itsfuture brighter.

  7. Using odd layouts, too many fonts, colors and other attention getting devices.
    With rare exception, attention-getters like overly busy layouts, exotic multicolor designs and odd sized paper have no place in a cover letter or resume. Save it for thedecorations at the next office party.

Follow these common sense suggestions and you'll write a cover letter that is bound to make you stand out-and landyou an interview.

© Copyright 2005 by Vincent Czaplyski, all rights reserved. You may republish this article in its entirety, as long as you include the complete signature file above without modification. Copywriter and consultant Vincent Czaplyski is founder of http://www.impressive-resumes.com, your online source for professionally written "industrial strength" resumes and cover letters guaranteed to land you an interview.

Want to get a more comprehensive approach to landing a job than what you're reading in this special report? Then, get your copy of David Green's outstanding toolkit here — I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who's serious about landing the job of their dreams.