1. Spell every single word correctly.
2. Address your letter to a specific person.
3. State concisely how you can help the company.
4. Use language that is direct and straightforward, with no loose adjectives.
5. Communicate your solution to a specific problem they are having right now.
6. Attach references with up-to-date phone numbers, E-mail addresses, and summaries.
7. Give your contact information clearly and completely. Keep it professional--no E-mail addresses that will make the hiring manager blush.
8. Completely rewrite your first cover letter five times before you send it.
9. Use snail mail, and send the materials unfolded.
10. Print out a blog post that you believe they would find relevant and insightful. Attach it.
11. End each element of your resume, with “Here’s how this can help ABC Co. ...”
12. Be specific about what you will do next, and then follow up by doing exactly that, whether it is to E-mail them, call, or to request a brief informational meeting.
G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, and his blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com or at JobDig.com.