Avoiding Common Mistakes
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is sending a form letter rather than a letter individually written to each employer. Even if you use a basic template for all your cover letters, make sure you customize each one you send out.
Address your letter to a person, not “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” If a person's name is not indicated in the job listing, call the company if a phone number is given. If you have tried and you still can't obtain the actual name of the intended recipient, then address your cover letter to the job title of the recipient, e.g., “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Many job seekers forget to say what job they are applying for. State the job in your letter. As mentioned earlier, human resources departments receive hundreds of letters for many different positions. You want to be clear about which one you want.
Look through your resume and pick out attributes — skills and experience — that are most pertinent to each position you apply for. Highlight those attributes in the appropriate cover letters. If you send the same letter for every job opening, merely highlighting a few of your (possibly unrelated) qualifications, you won't come across as a strong candidate for the job at hand.
Remember to ask for an interview. Include a way for the employer to contact you, such as a phone number and e-mail address. State when and how you will follow up with the employer. For example, you can say, “I will call you in one week to schedule an interview unless I hear from you before that.” Of course, you can only say you will call the employer if the job announcement provides the company's name. Not all include that information. If you say you're going to follow up, make sure you do!