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My junior year of high school, I drove a tank car that I tried to hide in the parking lot. It had a sticker on the back of the Boynton bears saying, "My other car is a Rolls." It belonged to my parents, and was almost as old as I was. It was the medium-size model of a Chevrolet station wagon, but it occupied a city block more than a full lane when I drove down the street. The car was an eyesore, and refused to be hidden. People noticed it.

Station_wagon

Just as you pay more for gas if you have a big car, you may pay the price if you apply for jobs with a very long cover letter. It's quite possible that no one will read your work. 

I'm going to borrow a writing style I've adapted from Twitter, and teach you how to write a cover letter in seven six tweets (messages of 140 characters or less). This is my gift to you because writing a cover letter is like going to the dentist no one likes to write cover letters.

(T1) Objective:  Write cover letter with the employer in mind, focus on their needs--not yours.Answer four questions, they want to know:

  1. (T2) Where did you find my listing? Do you know anyone here? Recruiters care about hiring and marketing. Let them know how you found them.
  2. (T3) What position are you applying for? How do your skills and experience align with the position?

  3. (T4) Why this opportunity? Why do you want to work here--and in this job? Share knowledge. Show that you've done homework.

  4. (T5) How can I follow-up with you?


(T6) These are the essentials. Your letter should be clear, concise and address each topic. Suggested format: write a paragraph on each point.

Practice writing a letter in this format a few times, and you'll find that you have a cover letter that almost writes itself. Have a hard time with addressing the line up between skills and a job? Get help from someone else--a career counselor, a hiring manager, or someone who enjoys the process...You can even contact me.

After you've done this a few times, you should have the format down. (
There's also an alternative version of this in the book I wrote, The Twitter Job Search Guide, as well as suggestions on how to write your resume in tweets.)

To Your Success,
Chandlee