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Monday, June 2, 2008

Getting Started - Writing Your Cover Letter - Part 2

Because our industry is usually conducted purely over the internet, people sometimes forget that professionalism and standard business etiquette still apply. Looking at the previously posted article, there are several things we can take from it to apply it directly to the transcription industry.

First, remember to keep your cover letter or email to the company focused on your skills as a transcriptionist. Do not focus on why you want to work from home, why you are working from home, what personal situations led you to this profession. All of these are exactly that, personal, and you are applying for a professional position.

Instead, focus on your skills in the field: your reliability, your grammatical expertise, whatever they may be. I also state what fields of transcription I have experience in and, if possible, tie my previous experience in with the type of transcription they are looking for.

Keep it simple. Your cover letter should be no more than three to five paragraphs long; however, I wouldn't go beyond three for the industry when applying to a transcription company. If I were soliciting a personal client I may include more content, but I see no reason to drag it out further for a company. Remember that the person looking at your email will be looking through several applicants and potential independent contractors, and length is not necessarily going to get you in the door. Show that you value their time by keeping it simple and straightforward.

In the same manner, do not restate things that are clearly listed on your résumé. Your résumé is there to provide the information on your background and experience. Instead, be brief, summarizing only to tie in to how that experience relates to the position you are applying for. Organize your information effectively. My cover letters usually contain three paragraphs in the following order:

1. Restate the position you are interested in and how you heard about the position.

2. Tie in your experience listed in your résumé to the position you are contacting them about.

3. Conclude by stating your desire to learn more about the position and the best ways to get in contact with you. Mention your résumé is attached for their further consideration, and thank them for their time.

Lastly, do not forget to formally end your email or cover letter with a formal salutation and your name. While these are often left off emails, remember that this email is taking the place of a formal letter and should include such formalities.

Hopefully, this gives you a starting point as you branch out and start contacting companies or as you look for additional companies to contract with to maximize your earning potential.