One of my recruiters showed me a cover letter that they received that I have to share. The cover letter is from a successful manufacturing executive and illustrates how your professionalism and style can greatly impact the impression you make.
The Cover Letter had a large font – a 14 point. This made the letter look more like a flyer than a professional letter. Most resumes have a 10 or 12 point font for the body of the text. A 14 point font is usually good for section heading, to add emphasis. Additionally, the cover letter had larger than normal margins. A 1” margin on all four sides is a good choice. Increasing the margins beyond this doesn’t make sense.
The font size and margins weren’t the problem. They didn’t help the cover letter, but they weren’t terrible. What really made the resume look cheesy was the clipart. The job seeker had put a cartoon at the top of their cover letter. The image looked like one the stock images that comes with Microsoft Word.
Adding images to a cover letter is never a good idea. Cartoons are an even worse idea. It sets an unprofessional tone that doesn’t match the purpose of a cover letter.
Remember, your cover letter and resume need to get attention, but resorting to gimmicks will hurt your chances. Getting remembered as the worst resume or most ridiculous cover letter won’t get you hired.
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