August 20, 2004, Newsletter Issue #30: part 5: Tone

Tip of the Week


Be natural and original. The formality of job hunting and writing a cover letter often results in letters that sound like some sort of strangled attempt at a legal document. Read your letter out loud to yourself.

Does it make you sound dynamic and like a possible asset? Or when you are through reading do you feel as if you need to take a nap?

Begin with writing your letter much as if you’d speak the information in conversation to a friend. That will eliminate the tendency to write sentences that are overly complex and boring, such as: “In the opening of the fourth quarter, a Market Trends Analysis team was formed and headed by me. (Instead of: “In September 1998, I led a Market Trends Analysis Trends team.”

Avoid using “I” and “my” too much, though. True, the cover letter is about you, but do you begin every sentence or paragraph with it?

Is there any mention of a team concept in there? Do you speak at all about what the company is looking for and how your skills relate to that? This isn’t an autobiography.

Watch for cliches and rip them out with a vengeance. And yes, “Enclosed please find my resume” is one of those. Eliminate trite, wordy, meaningless phrases such as “…in order to….” and “in the possibility that”, “in keeping with company policy”, “please consider me for your position as a….”, and similar ones.

Use active language. Circle all your uses of the verb TO BE and TO DO. Find a visually stronger and more descriptive verb. This also applies to wherever you have used the verb TO WORK!

Avoid any negativity on any subject for any reason. And don’t waste space on why you left your previous company. The time for that is when you meet face to face.

Judi Perkins

Need help with your resume? Why not hire Judi to:
a) advise you on changes, or
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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