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How to Write a Better Cover Letter by Brian Konradt

There are many instances when you'll need to write a better cover letter. Cover letters are essential when you're submitting anything from a job resume, to a grant proposal, to a research-style paper.

Actually, even before these documents are read (if they're read at all), it's the cover letter which first presents itself. It's the very page which could make or break your application.

Nowadays, it's isn't always your qualifications and credentials which first get noticed. Since most companies and businesses are pressed for time, they fail to go beyond the first few pages of your submission. Unfortunately, when your application gets bypassed, you lose on a job or business opportunity simply by default.

Frankly, you don't exactly know what happens to your precious piece of paper once you submit it. As the bearer of this letter, you sort of entrust your future to the receiver of your paper.

So here's where a good cover letter can prove to be priceless! If you're able to write a better one, you can ease your paper's transit through the Human Resources Department or the decision-maker himself!

Step 1: Specify to whom the letter is addressed.

This is where the problem usually starts. Most people only go so far as finding out the mailing address of an establishment. They then proceed to write the letter and address the recipient as “Madam” or “Sir.”

The salutation “Dear Madam:” or “Dear Sir:” won't get you anywhere and neither will your reference to a “To Whom It May Concern:”.

When the recipient's name is so easy to find, this can be interpreted as a sign of either laziness or aloofness. Especially when the company is famous or its officers are sociable, you'd easily find their names in circulation. You'd read about them in newspapers, magazines, journals, brochures, and other publications.

If not, you can always search for these names and addresses online. If an executive's email address has been divulged to the public, there's a logical reason to it. Most probably, this decision-maker wants to be accessible to the more serious and persistent of all potential applicants.

Actually, there's hardly an excuse to miss or delete this information. Maybe, it's been the very reason why some job-hunting applicants always face a blank wall.

Step 2: Call the attention of your recipient.

On the other hand, if applications are supposed to be coursed through HRD, here's another thing you can do. You can call the attention of the HRD Director or the Personnel Officer in charge of Recruitment.

After all, what‘s the purpose of the word “Attention:” in a business letter? Without any arrogance or disrespect, it's really meant to call the attention of the person concerned.

At the same time, it also facilitates the physical distribution of company mail. Such an attention-getting cover letter gains wings as the mailing envelope makes its way straight to the approver's desk or incoming tray.

Bravo! That's wasn't so difficult, was it? We've got to hand it to you if you were able to write a brief cover letter which made it through the entire paper chase. Having made it this far, would it be too late to remind you that this paper must have been spell-checked and proofread to perfection? So before you send out that cover letter, see how it reads from your very own desk or screen.