July 30, 2004, Newsletter Issue #28: part 3: cover letters

Tip of the Week


If you know the company but aren’t provided with the name of the person to whom to send your resume, phone and find out. And while you’re at it, make sure you have the correct spelling of their name and their precise title.

There is NO EXCUSE for knowing the company and NOT sending to an actual person by name – unless the ad provides you with a generic heading or title to use instead of a name.

In this case, while writing “Dear Director” is entirely appropriate, finding out who the Director is and using their name will differentiate you from all those who didn’t bother to make the extra effort.

“Smith” can be spelled “Smythe,” so don’t assume anything. Receptionists are sometimes unsure of a specific title, so ask them to check if they seem even a bit unsure. This information is also often available on a company’s web site.

The letter is then addressed to Mr. John Smith, and the salutation is “Dear Mr. Smith,” NOT “Dear Jim.” Keep it professional and respectful. Don’t assume familiarity.

If you’re responding to a blind ad, you’re out of luck. But make sure you don’t use a generically sexist “Gentlemen,” the inane “Dear Sir or Madam,” or worse yet, “To Whom It May Concern.” “Dear Hiring Manager” is appropriate, as is “Dear Director,” for instance, or skipping the salutation altogether.

This seems like an insignificant point. And it`s far easier to not track the name down. But the benefits of doing so greatly outweigh the time it takes - it`s often the difference between being invited in for an interview....or not.

Let the others default to the easy way out. YOU be the one that makes the extra effort. It will pay off.

More cover letter tips coming next week!

Judi Perkins

Need help with your resume? Why not hire Judi to:
a) advise you on changes
b)conduct a full interview with you and rewrite it for you

If your resume is not getting any results, it`s probably not your skills. It`s the way your resume is written.

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