Friday, February 6, 2015

Tip of the day: Your goodbye

Tip: Don't let your closing ruin everything

You've nailed your intro, stuck to one page, and made sure your cover letter does its one job perfectly. Now all you have to do is end the letter without ruining everything.

Which one of these endings ruins everything?

Closing A. Polite and mild: "Thank you for your consideration."

Closing B. Confident and urgent: "Thank you for your consideration. I will call your office on Monday to schedule an in-person interview."

Closing C. Confident and helpful: "Thank you for your consideration. I am available to start work on two weeks' notice."

Closing D. Confident and hopeful: "Thank you for your consideration. I'm looking forward to talking with you about this position."

The answer

A, B, and C are all pretty bad, but B is the absolute worst thing you can write at the end of a cover letter. Let's take a look at what each kind of closing does to your letter.

What they mean

Closing A. Verdict: Meh: This is the stock closing, and it does no harm to your pitch. All it does is waste space, and since you've been diligent about keeping your letter focused and brief, it's a crime to waste space with a weak ending.

Closing B. Verdict: Awful. This is pushy, obnoxious, and will probably get circulated for all the wrong reasons. The only thing worse than closing your letter like this is actually calling me on Monday to schedule an interview. Don't rush my process. Don't presume to put me on a deadline. You don't know when I'll even get around to reading your letter. Chill.

Closing C. Verdict: Bad. I've seen this a few times, and heard people describe it as one step below B on the pushy-o-meter. That's true, and I can even see the value in ending on a hopeful (and somewhat helpful!) note. However, as with B, it presumes knowledge of my timeline that may or may not be true. And it's not actually helpful information, so it's at best a waste of space.

Closing D. Verdict: Winner! Write this line according to your own tone, stay true to your voice and feelings, but if you want to close on a hopeful note, this is how you strike a balance between assuming you'll get a call and backing away meekly.