Resume cover letters: They sure are a pain, but they also happen to be one of the most important parts of your job application. If there is one mistake in your cover letter, there is a huge risk that the hiring manager will not even look at your resume. This is especially true in the highly competitive field of nonprofit jobs. Yes, cover letter writing is a fine art, one that must be practiced if you are to get it right. But before you get to writing yours, there are some things that you should avoid putting in it at all costs. So without further ado, here are my nonprofit cover letter tips:
- First of all, never open your resume cover letter with a gender-specific greeting (i.e. dear sir/madam). Unless you know the name of the hiring manager you are sending the letter to (which is rare), you won't have any idea what gender this person is. You should instead open with a phrase like "To whom it may concern."
- You should certainly create a template cover letter, but never use the same letter for different job applications. Each cover letter should be carefully tailored for the specific non profit job you are applying to. For example, if it is a marketing job, you should be sure to write about all of your experience in doing marketing related work.
- Keep a close eye on the length of your cover letter. It should last no more than one page; any more than that is too much.
- At the same time, you don't want your cover letter to be too short, either. If you find what you write lasts no more than a paragraph two, you need to reconsider your approach. If you haven't already, open up with a short story about yourself that gives a good example of the kind of skills you would bring to the position.
- If there are specific directions for your cover letter, make sure to follow them. This seems obvious, but it sometimes get lost in the process of crafting it. Be sure to write down a list of what is required for a specific cover letter (salary requirements, etc), and make it a point to include it.