Proper grammar and punctuation use are huge.
Cover letters need not be the old school 4 page letter bragging about how awesome you are. No one will read that, in fact very few people in the recruiting world will even read your cover letter, even fewer managers will ever see your cover letter. Typically IF your cover letter is read, it's by the HR generalist who will determine whether or not to forward your resume to the actual hiring manager for the department you will be working in. In the end, that determination will be made on your resume anyway, not your cover letter.
When you write your cover letter, breifly introduce yourself, breifly point out why you are interested in the organization, breifly list 2-3 reasons why you are qualified for the position and then breifly shut the fukc up with your name and contact information at the bottom.
Key word here is breifly, people's attention spans have gotten much shorter these days with the sheer volume of applicants to any and all posted positions. It's part of the reason most cover letters are not read, it is to time intensive. It only takes an applicant 30 seconds to attach a resume and a cover letter and hit submit. What that means is i have over 50 applicants per day per position posted that I may or may not have the time to sort through.
DO NOT over analyze what I am saying here, please still put in the effort to make a nice complete application, including a nice cover letter, but don't over do it.
Last edited by kickstand; August 13th, 2013 at 12:22 PM.