As in any business relationship, the writing and delivery of a cover letter follows specific rules of etiquette.
Be sure to include all of your contact information (including phone number and e-mail) on the cover letter, even if it's already on an attached document, such as your resume. They may get separated, and you want to be sure to give the recipient every opportunity to contact you.
Cover letters should never be handwritten. Type, or preferably, use a computer's word processing program to compose your letter.
Never send a cover letter on your current employer's letterhead.
Stand out through a well-written cover letter that highlights your professional values and your background, not through goofy stunts or gimmicks. The job candidate or sales contract-seeker who hires a guy in a gorilla suit to deliver a cover letter isn't engaging in "guerilla marketing." He's being weird. Such approaches may work 1 time out of 100, which makes for pretty poor odds.
In a resume cover letter, lay out your experience and best professional traits, but don't be arrogant or demanding. That turns people off. Aim for confident, yet objective.
Don't include salary information or requirements in a cover letter, unless you're asked to do so. If you have to, include a range rather than an exact dollar figure.
Don't send a generic cover letter to multiple employers or potential clients. Tailor each one to a specific recipient. If you are typing over a "boilerplate" letter, make sure you've removed all references to a previous recipient.
Try to avoid using "I" or "my" to start every sentence.
If you find that you need to make a change to a cover letter, don't use a pen or correction fluid. Fix it in the original document and print it out again, or retype it.
Don't include personal information such as age and marital status, and only include personal interests and hobbies if it's relevant to the job or situation at hand.
If you list a cell phone number in addition to a land line, keep it handy. Also, be sure your voicemail greetings are professional and complete.
If a job ad says not to call, the general rule is that you should not. However, some experts feel it's acceptable to call to make sure your cover letter and resume arrived.
Index of Cover Letter Examples