How do I make my letter not look like a form letter?
Do at least a bit more than replacing a company name in a few places. Research the company and make at least one statement where you associate one of your skills with a need of the company.
Is it okay to print my letter and resume on non-white paper?
Yes, if it is ivory or off-white. If you are not applying for a graphics design job, avoid electric blue paper and personal stationary.
Is it bad to use narrow margins to squeeze in more text?
Yes, if the margins are appreciably below one inch. If this is the case, edit some material or reformat all of it to include an additional page.
Does it matter what font I use?
Not really. But we recommend you play it safe and use Times Roman, 12 point size.
How many pages is too many pages?
If it isn't obvious to you that you need more than one page, you should always try to fit it on one page. This issue should not be the number of pages, it should be keeping the reader's interest.
Should I include a personal photograph?
Only if you are looking for a job in modeling, acting, or similar industries.
Should I explain why my lack of experience is not a problem?
No. Instead, just emphasize your strengths, skills, and company knowledge.
If I lie, how could they find out?
If this thought even crosses your mind, you are in a bad place. Stop. Re-assess. Get back on track.
What personal information should I include?
Do not include your age, weight, height, marital status, race, religion, or any other personal information unless you are sure that it is relevant to the position you are seeking.
What should I look for when proofreading?
First of all, there is no excuse for not having perfect spelling and grammar. Other common errors are: misspelling the name or title in the salutation or on the envelope; forgetting to change the name of the company in the body of the letter; identifying the wrong job; and erroneous company information.
Should I admit how desperately I am in need of a job?
No. Show enthusiasm, not desperation.
Should I include a career goal that goes beyond the job I am applying for?
No. They are only interested in what you can do for them, not what you hope to accomplish for yourself.
What tone should I use?
Positive, always positive. Enthusiasm helps. Also, make it personal; that makes it much easier to read.
How do I persuade them to help me?
First of all, avoid stating that you are writing to ask for a job. Instead, explain that you are writing to ask for some help or advice. One good way to do this is to ask for help in referring you to other people: "I am writing in the hopes you may be able to refer me to someone whom it would be appropriate to contact."
How many times should I make followup telephone calls?
Show interest, but avoid being a pest. Put yourself in their shoes: how often would you want someone calling you for a favor? You may have to call several times to get through to talk to the person. Know what message you want to leave if the person is not in the office. Jot it down before you even dial the telephone number! Some other suggestions: "Can you suggest a good time to find him in and free to talk?" Don't say "I'll wait for his call." Instead say that you will call back.
How should I explain that I am responding to an advertised job opening?
Ideally, do it in a way that does not look like all the other responses they get: "In response to your ad in the [newspaper] I would like to apply for the position of [job title]" One way is to turn it into a "what I can do for you" statement: "Two skills you mention in your ad for a [job title] made me think you could be looking for someone with my capabilities."
How should I start to talk about my salary expectations?
If you feel you must say something, give a broad range or say "it's negotiable."