Consider your reader. Over worked, under appreciated, vain, fighting with their significant other about who was more put out by the last DMV appointment, desperately looking for some small evidence their work has meaning. You have two sentences, max, to cajole, seduce and entice. Lead with them.
Get your story straight. Tell your reader how you know them, why you love their work and how their existence in the world has affected yours.
It’s not about you. Do not start sentences with “I…” The reader doesn’t care about you or your story. Sorry. The good news is that it’s not personal. The reader *might* hire you but only *if* they have more work than they can handle *and* some surplus cash that is worth less to them than getting some help. See, it’s not about you.
Do not ask for a job. Ask for an honest portfolio review. If you are serious about working for a particular firm, you need to be looking 3-5 years out. Go in as a disciple and get honest, brutal feedback about where your portfolio needs to be in order to come back a few years from now. Tell them up front this is what you are after! However, show up dressed to impress and ready to shine. If you’ve got the chops now, they will work you in or pass you onto a friend in need of help. If not, you know your work isn’t there yet… yet. Your foot is in the door and you have a clear idea of what you need to work on.All portfolio review interviews are good. If your idol turns out to be an ass you’ve saved yourself years of prepping for a job you wouldn’t want. If you find them a mensch, joy all around! They will remember you and reward your hard work. Anything in between is good interview experience and well worth your time.
Thank them and keep in touch. Jobs happen when you follow up. Send thank you cards, send emails, send postcards. Diligence counts. Be gracious and thankful, even to the asses. Why? At the end of the day it’s about the person you are, not the work you do.
- Your name should be in bold 14- or 16-point font.
- Your address and other contact information should be in normal 12-point font.
- The font of your letterhead does not need to be Arial or Times New Roman, like the rest of your letter, but it should be professional looking and easy to read. The most important thing to remember is to include up-to-date information so that you make it easy for the employer to contact you.
- You may want to include an extra line under the letterhead to create visual appeal and to separate the letterhead from the rest of the letter.
- From here on out, use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman throughout the entire letter, set your margins to one inch, and use single spacing. Be sure your font is black, and if you're printing your letter out, use standard-sized paper (8 1/2” by 11”).
Address the recipient. Be sure to refer to the recipient by his or her proper title (Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.). If you’re not sure who the recipient is, write, “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Sir or Madam”; however, it is always best to address a cover letter to a real person to make it look like you’re not sending form letters.
- You don't necessarily need to include how you became aware of the position unless it was through a mutual contact or recruiting program—in which case you should make the most of the connection.
- If you are writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or inquiry letter) in which you are asking about positions that might be available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer.
- Make your qualifications jump out at the reader by researching the company to which you are applying for a job and tailoring your letter accordingly. This will also be useful if you get an interview. Some questions to keep in mind as you write are
- What is the employer's mission? What do they promote as the one thing that sets them apart from their competitors?
- What kind of customer base does the employer have? Who is their target audience?
- What is the company's history? Who founded it? How has the business evolved? What are the main highlights of the company's performance over the past few years?
Include a positive statement or question in the final paragraph that will motivate the employer to contact you. Make this closing paragraph between two and four sentences. Direct the employer to your enclosed resume and make sure you specify that you're available for an interview. Finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration, and welcome them to get in touch with you to continue the conversation.
Write an appropriate closing. It’s a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time. After that, write “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” or “Regards,” leave several spaces, and print your name.
Add your signature. If you will be submitting your cover letter digitally, it’s a good idea to scan and add your signature, write it in with a digital writing pad, or make a digital signature stamp with appropriate software.
Make a notation of the enclosures. If you enclose something, such as a resume, with a letter, you should indicate that the letter contains enclosures by making the notation “Enclosure” or “Enclosures” at the bottom of the letter.