TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Cover Letters, What's Important? From:"Parker, Cassandra M. (EXCH)" <CMPARKER -at- INTERMEDIA -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 23 Feb 1999 10:17:10 -0500
Thank you so very much for all the valuable information. Many times it's
good to post to the list so others can read and obtain the information (if
they desire to do so). I didn't ask the question but definitely have
enjoyed reading the replies.
> From: Candace Bamber[SMTP:cbamber -at- CASTEK -dot- COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 8:11 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Cover Letters, What's Important?
> Stark Vision asked about cover letters. Since I'm currently in process of
> evaluating resumes and since I specifically asked for a cover letter in my
> posting, I've been thinking a lot about what I'm actually looking for:
> >What are the most important things to include in a cover letter?
> *Proof that you read my job ad and thought about how or whether you have
> the characteristics/qualifications I asked for. That means the letter
> should create
> a bridge between the ad's stated needs and the contents of your resume.
> example, I asked for an "all rounder" - so maybe the letter could point
> out that
> you have done a lot of different types of projects, or that you have two
> - one in English, one in Physics, or that you attend classes at night,
> manage a
> little league team, publish poetry and have freelanced as a tech writer
> for the
> last four years. Whatever. What you actually say obviously depends on your
> experience and what you consider relevant. You don't have to cover every
> in my ad - pick two that you think are important - I just want to know
> that you
> read it.
> *Proof that you went to the trouble of trying to find out something about
> company. "I was very interested in the article about the future of
> component-based development on your website. With my background in OO
> development methodologies, I believe I could easily make the
> transition...." or
> "The recent article about your company in CIO magazine indicated that you
> to be able to deliver large scale systems in less than half the time of
> traditional systems integrators. In an environment where speed and
> are critical to success, my experience in process development at blah
> *Enthusiasm for life and for work, desire to be the best, creativity,
> outlook, friendliness, willingness to go the distance. Established skills
> everything. I hire people, not lists of skills. Attitude means a lot here
> we're in the business of doing the impossible and making it look easy. I'm
> willing to take on a strong learner if I think they will thrive in our
> unique environment.
> This is a little more nebulous, but I also look to see if there is
> that I can use to establish some common ground. When I interview I always
> in the same place "I'll tell you what I need and what I have to offer. You
> me what you need and what you have to offer. Then we can talk about our
> ground and decide whether it's worthwhile for us to go forward." A hint of
> common ground in a letter often makes me take notice.
> >Is there a minimum and maximum length?
> I like to see at least a couple paragraphs. I find cover letters much
> revealing about people than resumes, so I'm willing to read a little more
> some other interviewers might be. A page is probably a good length for
> I'll read two pages if the letter engages my interest.
> >What should I avoid including in the cover letter?
> *Avoid telling me how you're going to come in and save my team/company
> from our
> current ineptitude.
> *Avoid crossing the line between "selling yourself" (good) and convincing
> that you're so conceited and into yourself that no-one could stand to have
> around (bad)
> *Avoid threats (I once had a guy with a perfectly acceptable resume write
> in a
> cover letter that he would kidnap my dog if I didn't invite him in for an
> *Avoid anything that hints that you might be desperate for work
> *Avoid anything about money
> *Avoid enclosing a picture of yourself
> *Avoid telling me what you won't do
> I hope this is helpful to someone.....
> Candace Bamber
>mailto:cbamber -at- castek -dot- com
> 221 Front Street E
> Toronto, ON, Canada
> --Putting The Future Together---