By Martin Yate
There are really two steps in the creation of a polished cover letter.
The first happens now. You want to make sure that all the things that should be included are, and that all the things that shouldn't, aren't.
On the fence about sending a cover letter? Read Are Cover Letters a Waste of Time?
The final proofing is done before sending.
Warning: It is easy, in the heat of the creative moment, to miss crucial components, or to mistakenly include facts that give the wrong emphasis.
Check all your letters against these considerations:
Contact information is required by standard business letter format. In a job search, proceed carefully:
If your letter is more than one page long, and is going by traditional mail, each page should be numbered "page 1 of 2," etc., and the pages are stapled together. Remember the accepted way of stapling business communications: one staple in the top left-hand corner.
Without an purpose that is clear to the recipient, your cover letter will be useless and your resume likely ignored. Focus on communicating the reason you are sending your resume in a way that appeals to the employer's interests:
Focus on the benefit to the employer of hiring you. Don't include how you will benefit by working for them.
The cover letter is a primary example of the quality of your work, so take great care with how you communicate to show what a great communicator you are:
* At the same time try to vary the length of sentences.
In a digital and social media world, how well you craft your written communications is increasingly important.
Yes, a well-written cover letter will take you time. Some people will tell you that they don't matter (Are Cover Letters a Waste of Time?). Since you won't usually know in advance who requires them and who ignores them, take the time to make it clear why you are sending your resume, just in case. And, at the same time, show your attention to detail and the high quality of your communications.
Successful careers don't happen by accident. Professional resume writing expert Martin Yate CPC is a New York Times best-seller and the author of 17 Knock Em Dead career management books. As Dun & Bradstreet says, "He's about the best in the business." For FREE resume-building advice and to view Martin's resume samples, visit the Knock Em Dead website. Join Martin on Twitter at @KnockEmDead.
More about this author...