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Cover Letter Best Practices

Best Practice Number One:  Always, always, always follow the directions provided by the potential employer. If they tell you not to write a cover letter, then don’t waste your time. If an employer tells you they want a specific format (including something uncommon or even a little bit wacky), then make sure you do it that way.

Best Practice Number Two:  If you are not going to put any real effort in, don’t bother. Cover letters weed people out, so don’t give the potential employer a reason to say no.

Now for the other best practices:


  • Do not regurgitate your resume.
  • Do not re-state your education.
  • Do not apologize for missing experience.
  • Do not expect your first draft to be your final draft; self-edit, and have another person (perhaps a mentor, a P&PD Advisor, FMEAP Specialist, or a Transition Specialist) read it and provide feedback.
  • Do not use unusual or overly familiar greetings (ex: Dear Friend).
  • Do not mention salary, fringe benefits, vacation time, etc. (It’s too soon!)
  • Do not snail mail a resume without a cover letter.
  • Do not photocopy your cover letter.








Searching for more in-depth assistance with cover letters? Contact your installation’s Family Member Employment Assistance or Transition Readiness staff and ask the Marine for Life Network on LinkedIn. For more job search tips, follow Marine for Life on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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