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Alison Doyle

A Cover Letter is Not a Tweet

By August 23, 2010

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I've heard from more than a few hiring managers who wonder if cover letter writing is a lost art. One of them told me that he has received a lot of cover letters that are shorter than tweets including a cover letter that just said "Have a nice day." and another that said "Please view my resume."

Cover letter writing is not supposed to be a lost art. Employers still expect them. Hiring managers at the companies surveyed by Saddleback College which require cover letters (43%)  want more than just a basic cover letter.

Employers expect to see the following in cover letters: tailored skills from the job description - 33%, specifying the job applied to - 26%, details from your resume - 20%, and the personal value the candidate offers  - 19%.

That said, in defense of applicants who are sending cover letters like 140 character tweets,  it can be hard to take the time to write a customized cover letter when you don't hear back from employers after sending out, in some cases, hundreds of resumes and cover letters.

It's tough when you put effort into applying - over and over again - and your applications get lost in the black hole of the Internet.

However, there are ways to speed up the process and still write a custom cover letter for each job.  Here are tips for writing personalized cover letters including how to create and edit your own cover letter template.

Related: How to Write a Personalized Cover Letter | Top 10 Cover Letter Tips

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August 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm
(1) Helen South says:

Oh gosh, my last cover letter, I think I spent an entire day trying to craft The Perfect Paragraph. Admittedly it was only the second such letter I’d written in years, but trying to get the information I needed with exactly the right confident-not-arrrogant tone….

August 25, 2010 at 10:31 am
(2) Meghan says:

It’s funny that you mention this because in at least one of the graduate school classes at the University of Baltimore, students were told NEVER to write a cover letter again, unless specifically asked to do so. I find that there is far too much back and forth on the topic and have opted in situations where an actual position is not listed on a website to write a strong paragraph about myself and my history, and send a bulleted, but detailed resume that states “writing samples, references and salary history are available upon request.” It does, however, seem futile to put so much effort into a cover letter when your resume may actually do more justice.

August 26, 2010 at 4:38 am
(3) karen says:


September 15, 2010 at 11:11 am
(4) interview tips girl says:

Thanks for the detailed percentage on writing a good cover letter. Hope a lot of job seekers would realize that, esp. in today’s economy were you really have to put your 110% effort on your job hunt to get noticed by potential employers. As Landon Long says, “It takes the same amount of work to build an unsuccessful job hunt as it does to build a successful job hunt”. Btw, I went ahead and bookmarked your informative post! ;)

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