TIPS FOR WRITING AN EFFECTIVE FORMAL LETTER

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1: Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system). •
Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
2: Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company. Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments. •

3: Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
4: Edit, edit, edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Therefore, read through your cover letter, and if possible ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.

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