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October 31, 2016

Write a Cover Letter That Lands You An Interview

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Write Cover Letters That Land Interviews

Pamela Skillings, Co-Founder of Big Interview

Getting hired for a job can be a long and daunting process. After all, there are so many important components -- from the application, to the resume, to the interview, to the follow ups. One of the most important parts to landing that dream gig is the cover letter. Despite how good your resume is, a bad cover letter can land you in the rejection pile. For more about what you definitely should and shouldn't include in a cover letter, as well as the best ways to write one, check out these ten helpful tips to ensure you're considered for any design or development job you want.

1. Address the Cover Letter to the Right Person

Even if the job advertisement doesn't name a specific contact at the company, do your research and address your cover letter to the specific person who will be reading it. Many technology companies are good about listing their staff either on their own websites or their social media sites. Addressing your letter to a specific person shows that you've done legwork and are truly interested in working with the people at the company.

2. Explain Your Connection

If you've been referred to the company by a specific person or found out about the job from someone connected to the company, introduce that in the first paragraph. You want to give yourself some context and a leg up.

3. Link to Your Portfolio

If you have a digital portfolio, include the link to that in your cover letter.

4. Edit Your Portfolio

Before you send your cover letter, ensure that your portfolio is up to date. It should include all relevant and recent work that might relate to the job that you're applying for. Remove old and irrelevant work before potential employers see it.

5. Be Specific About Skills

Many skilled people work in the graphic design and development worlds. Listing the programs, programming languages, etc. you are adept in using is a plus when writing a cover letter.

6. Request an Interview

You haven't just written a cover letter to share information with the potential employer, you want an interview. So ask for it! Tell the company staffers that you would love to discuss the job with them more and show them why you are the best candidate for it in person.

7. Don't Go Overboard

A designer's instinct is to design, so follow the philosophy that simple is usually better. The most appealing cover letters are simple, professional, and clean. You can showcase your work via your portfolio.

8. Don't Brag

Keep your cover letter factual and straightforward. Simply list your experience, skills, and background, and let the rest of the information come out naturally in a face-to-face conversation or interview.

9. Proofread

Closely proofread your work; don't let multiple letters to multiple companies trip you up. One of the worst mistakes any designer or developer could make is forgetting to change the name of the potential company or employer. Typos are big turnoffs, too.

10. Make Extra Copies

After you've sent your letter and gotten your interview, print extra copies of the cover letter, then bring them with you. An interviewer will often have misplaced cover letters or forgotten them, and extra copies of cover letters will not only show you're on top of things, but also make the process easier for the interviewer.

Pamela Skillings is co-founder of Big Interview. As one of the country's top interview coaches, she has helped her clients land dream jobs at companies including Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase. She also has more than 15 years of experience training and advising managers at organizations from American Express to the City of New York. She is an adjunct professor at New York University and an instructor at the American Management Association.

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