Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

A resume is an essential tool for any job search, but it's not the only tool. Your cover letter is equally important in creating a good first impression for a potential employer. Take some time to make your cover letter great and increase your chances of landing that dream job.

  1. Find a job posting, job tip or advertisement that interests you, and make sure you are truly qualified for the position. Busy employers sometimes receive hundreds of letters, so don't waste their time or yours.

  2. Match the letterhead style and paper you will use for your cover letter to that of your resume. This helps to establish a solid first impression.

  3. Skip the salutation if you do not know the name of the person who will be reviewing your resume. It's best to address the letter to a specific person; call the company and see if the receptionist can give you a name and title.

  4. Grab the reader's attention right away - make him or her want to keep reading. You need to distinguish yourself early from the rest of the pack.

  5. Mention in the first paragraph where you learned about the job opportunity and why you're interested.

  6. Establish a professional image in the second and third paragraphs by highlighting your most significant accomplishments and qualifications. Be careful not to quote your résumé verbatim.

  7. Clarify what you can contribute to the employer's organization rather than what you hope to gain from this potential relationship. You can discuss the latter in the interview.

  8. Remind the reader, in the last paragraph, that your resume will further explain your qualifications, experience and education. Request a personal interview, and indicate the times you will be available.

  9. Close your letter by telling the reader that you look forward to hearing from the company, and restate your enthusiasm for learning more about the opportunity.

  10. Double-check your document for spelling and grammar; refer to a stylebook if necessary. Carelessness makes a bad impression on employers.

  11. Print your letter using a good ink-jet or laser printer.

Before writing your cover letter, research the company to which you are applying. Then your letter can refer to specifics about the employer's business as reasons why you are interested in working there.

Keep it short. Most cover letters stick to one page and use a standard business letter format.

Consider using bullet points in your middle paragraphs to further highlight accomplishments.

Don't get too personal or wordy. Save stories and relevant anecdotes for the interview.

Don't brag. Confidence is important, but don't overdo it.

Skip the statistics. Although the fact that you increased your account base by 68.635 percent more than the last person may be interesting to you, it often means nothing to your prospective employer.

Never, never send a photocopied letter or use a form letter. This tells your prospective employer you are not interested enough to write an original letter and that you are satisfied doing just what it takes to get by.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.