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Career and Professional Development

» Cover, Acceptance, Decline, Thank You, and Personal Statement Letters

Cover Letters

J.T. O'Donnell on Making Recruiters Come to You "Hook a Recruiter with your Cover Letter" by J.T. O'Donnell, Lynda Business Skills Library

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+ - Do's

  • Header on resume and cover letter must be exactly the same
  • Same font, font size, and margins on both resume and cover letter
  • Write your cover letter as if you already had the position – but haven’t started your first day yet
    • Express enthusiasm!
    • If you have a wonderful idea you would like to implement – talk about it!
  • Sign your cover letter
  • Always start your letter with “Dear” (i.e. Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Selection Committee)
  • Make sure that every example of your experience that you refer to is in your resume
  • Talk about your “X” and “Y” that come from your background and experience
  • Personalize your closing paragraph to the specific position

Creating an Effective Resume (2011) "Creating a cover letter" by Mariann Siegert, Lynda Business Skills Library

+ - Don'ts

  • Use any negative words in your writing in any context (i.e. “Should you”, “If”, “But”, “However”)
  • Be generic in your closing
  • Begin your letter with: To Whom It May Concern
  • End your letter with: References Available Upon Request
  • Ever talk about a defining experience on your cover letter that is not mention in your resume
  • Make your letter longer than a page
  • Lie about your experiences
  • Have any grammatical or spelling errors  

Decline, Acceptance, Thank You Letters, and Personal Statements

This section of the website is currently under construction. However, support is still available! Please schedule an appointment for a 1-1 personalized coaching session to discuss these various types of letters.

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+ - Thank you

Writing a thank you letter to your interviewer(s) after the interview shows that you are truly interested in the position, and when done well, can boost your candidacy against the other people you are interviewing again. Taking the time to write the “thank you” is a strong demonstration of your use of soft skills and takes the impersonal process of interviewing into a much more personalized experience.

Make sure that you collect the business card(s) from your interviewer(s) so that you can personalize each thank you letter that you send out.

Most employers in the U.S. find it acceptable to receive an emailed thank you letter, however, more conservative organizations generally appreciate hand-written notes. It is important to personalize your letter to the sender. Use this opportunity to highlight discussion points from your interview, or expand upon a point that you discussed with that person. When emailing a thank you make sure to do so within 24 hours. When mailing, do so no later than the day after the interview.

+ - Personal Statements

Visit the comprehensive Personal Statement Guide page.

Career and Professional Development

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