Writing A Good Cover Letter

Yes, everyone’s favorite topic – cover letter writing. Most cringe at the thought of sitting down to compose a professional, presentable cover letter. Why is that?

For starters, it’s a lot of work and if you’re not careful, it could turn out to be generic and sound arrogant. In my technical writing class I learned some valuable information on what you should avoid when writing a cover letter.

The first thing you want to do is always write out the date in full. This looks more professional and is more formal than 1/27/15. When you think about it, it doesn’t really take any extra time to do considering Word auto types it after the first few letters.

Next, you want to make sure you have the complete business address. This includes the full name of the person who will be reviewing your resume and cover letter. Never, I repeat, never send a cover letter out “To Whom It May Concern:”. If it is not mentioned in the job listing, search the web, make some phone calls – be sure to not only find their name, but also get the correct spelling. This shows you’ve done your research.

At this point in the cover letter you will want to start your first sentence off with the position you’re applying for and where you found the position listed. Make sure you have the exact position listed so whoever is reading your cover letter knows why they are reading it.

It is important to remember that your cover letter isn’t about you – it’s about how well you match what the company needs. It’s best to avoid using phrases like “I think”, “I believe”, or “I know”. This can come off sounding arrogant and narcissistic. A good thing to do is to research the company. Find out where they’ve been in the past and look to see what their plan is for the future. Use this information to your advantage in your cover letter by telling the company why you want to work there.

Remember to be humble. Find a unique way to tell the company that you hope to be considered for employment.

Whether you’re fresh out of college or an experienced professional, it is important that you take skills that you have and connect them with jobs you have already had. Keep in mind that verbs are about your skills and adjectives and adverbs are about your work ethic. Use this opportunity to create a 3D picture of yourself for your potential employer to see.

Finally, let them know how to contact you. If you have a voicemail setup, make sure it sounds professional. Nothing sounds worse to a potential employer than, “Hey man, it’s so and so. Leave me your digits yo!”. Something more appropriate would be, “You have reached so and so. I am unable to take your call at this time. Leave your name, number, and reason for your call, and I will return your call.” If you have an email address that you’ve been using from high school, make sure you create a new, professional email address in which you can include as well.

This post is derived from notes and class discussion I had Monday afternoon in my technical writing class with Dr. Micheal Martin. Before this class, I can tell you all – I have been writing cover letters the wrong way! I hope this can be a help to some of you out there because I know for me, receiving this information was like finding a goldmine.

Unit 2: Media is Satan to Good Grammar

First, can I just say, I love that blogging on WordPress is homework. I really can’t express that enough. There, now that I got that off my chest, I can focus on the assignment at hand.

Media is such an important part of today’s world. This is how we can connect to people face-to-face who are thousands of miles away. Actually, on WordPress, I have my very first WordPress friend and soul sister Bare Naked In Public from across the country in California. If it weren’t for WordPress, I never would have crossed her path.

I think it is so interesting how media lets people connect not just all over the United States, but all over the world. There are downfalls with that, however. What I’m going to talk about today is something so aggravating about media literacy that it really makes me question my faith in the new generations (including my own).

Do u nO SuM1 wHO Typ3S liiiKe diiSS?

This annoying little grouping of letters is a way people used to type when I was in high school. Who knows, people may still type like this. Can I just take this time to say that it is super annoying to read? Not to mention, it also makes you look uneducated.

I know, I know, abbreviations are nice for texting and occasionally I will type “u” rather than “you” just for time purposes. But really when you think about it, how much time does it really take to type two extra letters? I think it takes more time to type the above disheveled mess of capital and lowercase letters and numbers.

Text abbreviations and strange cryptic typing were all the rage when I was in high school. I never really jumped on that bandwagon. You see, I love words. I love sentences. I love writing. So to me, it almost feels as if I’m cheating myself if I use handy dandy text abbreviations and odd character typing.

Like I said, a meaningless “lol” text to an acquaintance or “see u soon” to a friend you’re meeting with is acceptable to me. On the contrary, I would never be caught dead posting legitimate statuses, posts, or emails using that kind of grammar and spelling.

Let’s take a moment to discuss how media and technology influence our writing skills. Well for one, we’re now living in a world where our thoughts can be conveyed in 140 characters or less. Is that only scary to me?

I find that many people dislike writing. I’m one of those people who could never understand how someone could dislike, or even dare I say, hate writing. Maybe because we are conditioning our minds to think in 140 characters or less. But let me ask you a question. Would you hire someone who Typ3S
liiiK3 DiiiSs? I wouldn’t.

It’s a bit ironic because text abbreviations and cooky typing have become so relevant in the online writing world and I can’t stand it. Is it good or bad? I don’t know. Surely, I believe it sets the example for acceptable writing styles.
I was taught that if you want to be a good writer you need to read good writing.

That’s the problem today with online blogging – too many people can post whatever they want however they want to. Now, before you all go jumping down my throat for that one, I’m not saying it’s bad to have a platform to express yourself with in the way you choose.

My problem lies where people think opinions are credible sources and poor grammar is acceptable. After a while of using abbreviations, one might forget how to use words without their abbreviations.

Actually, the biggest proofing errors I come across while reading papers for peers is their lack of understanding when to use “they’re”, “there”, and “their”. “It’s”, and “its” are another common mistake along with “to”, “too”, and “two”.

This is basic grade school grammar and unfortunately it’s becoming a lost art. I attribute that to media and how we use it not only here in the United States, but all over the world.

If that doesn’t scare you, than maybe it’s becoming more and more acceptable across the board; kind of like how “ain’t” finally became a word and hearts became acceptable for the dot above the lowercase “i”.

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