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September 15, 2014

Want the Job? Here's How to Write a Cover Letter

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Here's How to Write a Cover Letter

By Rita J King, EVP for Business Development at Science House

For job seekers or career professionals who are looking to rethink the stale cover letter template, this article is for you.

Here are a few quick and easy tips...

Read the job description
If you have one generic cover letter that you send out for every opportunity, you probably won't seem like a good fit for most jobs that comes your way. If you have experience that will make you a good fit for the opportunity at hand, focus on that. Explain how you've solved problems in the past that are relevant to the requirements of the position you seek.

To whom it may concern
I'm concerned already. If specific names appear in the job description and you address your cover letter in a generic fashion, you have already proven that you don't pay attention to details.

Do some research
If the name of the company is listed, spend some time doing your research and share some information about your impressions and mostly, how your particular skills might enhance that organization's mission.

It's not about you
This is a tricky one. You want to promote yourself and your skills, background and experience, but the most important thing is to show your true self. Do not just say the things you think an employer needs to hear. Be authentic.

Get rid of the jargon
Cut to the chase. Hiring managers don't have time to sift through the jargon. The last person they would hire is one who shows remarkable aptitude for mimicking language that they believe should be eradicated from professional settings.

Your future
Any cover letter that refers to the job at hand as a stepping stone in your future career is going to get immediately rejected. Your future career unfolds in every way, every day. Your future career is largely dependent on the choices you make today, including your ability to hustle no matter the task, and above all, to improvise and have a great attitude in the face of unexpected circumstances.

Include your contact information
When you are sending cover letters, it's important to include contact information so the hiring manager can easily see how to reach you. You may also want to include the URL to your blog, website and/or professional social networks.

Are you really the ideal candidate?
If your letter starts off with an assertion that you're the ideal candidate and then your list of reasons has absolutely nothing to do with the job for which you're applying, you're finished before you start. Instead, include some context about your story and who are you as a person.

The most employable characteristics
How well can you adjust to a fast-paced, changing environment? How buoyant do you remain when your assumptions are challenged? Are you able to thrive without being micro-managed? Are you able to stay focused on your tasks? Are you able to look around and see what needs to get done? Can you spot opportunities and tackle challenges? If you can prove that you have these abilities, you're destined for professional stardom in most fields!

Rita J King is the Executive VP for Business Development at Science House, where she works with clients to shape the new global culture and economy - whether by brainstorming and implementing ideas or creating memorable, one-of-kind event experiences for customers, employees, or the public. She's also a Senior Fellow of Social Networking and Immersive Technologies at the Center of the Study of the Presidency and Congress and Futurist at NASA Langley's think tank, the National Institute of Aerospace. Follow @RitaJKing on Twitter.

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