Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Lose Weight Fast


Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
 Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
Do you want to slim down fast for that beach vacation or high school reunion? While there are many things you can do to shed pounds, losing weight too quickly, like any sudden change to your body, can be dangerous. While fad diets, diet pills, and fasting may indeed induce rapid weight loss, these methods can cause you to get gallstones, start losing muscle and hair and may also injure your heart and other organs fairly quickly. The best solution? Do not go for an overnight miracle. Instead, follow these steps to lose weight rapidly, healthily, and sustainably.


  1. 1
    Have confidence in yourself. You should know the exact reason that stimulates you to reduce your weight. This will help keep you motivated in your weight loss program. Know that millions of people do it, and so can you! You're never too out of shape to get into shape!
  2. 2
    Set an achievable goal for your weight reduction. If the aim is not practical then you will easily get disheartened and stop following your regimen. You must set a target that has a time limit. The amount of weight you want to lose and the time within which you would like to lose it should be decided beforehand. If the time and amount of weight is clearly decided primarily, your enthusiasm will keep you on the track until you reach your destination.
  3. 3
    Determine your daily caloric intake. Losing weight is simply an activity. Lower your calories intake without starving. Remember to calculate your metabolism. The metabolism is a large part of your calories burned in an average day. To win the battle, know how many calories you consume in a day.
    • Write down all the things you eat on a typical day. Carry a small notebook with you and write down every snack, every drink, and the contents of every meal. There are also great websites that you can use to keep track of calories, get recipes, and help achieve your goal. Don't forget to include the pats of butter or the spoonful of sugar in your coffee. It's best to do this for at least a couple weekdays and a weekend; it's even better if you can go a full week. There are also calorie tracking websites that can help you to do this, such as the US government Pyramid Tracker website.
    • Do an itemized calorie count. When possible, write down the number of calories in each food you eat as you eat it. Keep in mind that the recommended serving size is often considerably smaller than the serving you actually eat. Look up the calorie count on the internet for foods that don't have calories listed on the container or for fast food meals. You don't have to be 100% accurate, but you do want a good estimate of the number of calories you're taking in. There is an idea that multiplying your ideal weight by ten will produce a rough estimate of the number of calories you need to eat per day to maintain your weight. This is not true for everyone. You may wind up grossly under or over estimating the number of calories you should be eating. Consult a nutritionist. Use a scientific or health website to determine the number of calories you should eat a day or consult your doctor. Everyone has different metabolisms and there is no blanket rule that covers everyone's recommended calorie intake. Reducing 500 calories per day from the calories you eat to maintain your weight can help you lose a pound of fat per week.
  4. 4
    Go over the list and decide which foods to cut out or reduce. Cutting calories is usually a lot easier than you might think. For example, that daily tall latte in the morning may pack 500 calories. Since a pound of flab (lost or gained) is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, replacing that rich beverage with black coffee can help you lose a pound a week. Other easy cuts include salad dressing (salad dressing is the number one source of fat in the average American woman's diet), soda pop, candy, and butter. Look at the nutritional information for the foods you eat, pay special attention to your intake of saturated fats and empty calorie, high-sugar foods. You don't need to cut these things out entirely, but if you reduce your intake of high-fat, high-calorie foods you'll lose weight faster.
  5. 5
    Seek out alternatives to the unhealthy foods you've identified. You can simply reduce the amount of soda you drink or mayonnaise you put on your sandwiches, or you can substitute healthier choices. Drink water instead of soda, for example, or use mustard instead of mayo. Low-fat and low-calorie options are also available for most foods, and many of these are natural, (although some may contain chemicals), and tasty. Start trying to eat healthy in most meals:
    • Choose lean meats. Chicken and fish are both very low in fat, and certain fish like salmon, sardines, and fresh tuna are an excellent sources of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are also beneficial to your health, so aim to replace some or all of the beef or pork in your diet with these foods.
    • Replace high-calorie side dishes with healthier alternatives. Many people get a ton of calories from side dishes such as macaroni and cheese, French fries, or potato salad. You can eat healthier and lose weight by replacing these with fresh vegetables and salads. Pre-made salads are practically effortless, and when accompanied by a reduced-calorie dressing or no dressing at all, they're weight-loss gold.
    • Start your days off right. A fattening breakfast of bacon and eggs or a pastry can be replaced with yogurt, oatmeal, high-fiber, low-sugar cereals; or fresh fruit for fruit smoothies. However, for those on a low carbohydrate diet bacon and eggs are a great combo for breakfast, since neither have carbs. But don't fall into the trap of skipping breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast increases your rest metabolic rate earlier in the day, and reduces snacking before lunch.
  6. 6
    Plan your meals. Look for healthy, delicious meals online or in your cookbooks, and create a menu for the week. Make sure that your meal plan reduces your total calorie intake: you're not going to lose weight if you consume the same amount of calories by eating different foods. Make a list of what you'll need for these meals, and -- except for a few snacks, of course -- don't stray from your list when you get to the market. Planning your meals helps ensure you get a balanced diet and reduces the temptation to stop off for fast food or order a pizza. Remember, it's easier to stick to your shopping list if you shop when you aren't hungry - this will help avoid impulse buys which contribute to calorie consumption.
  7. 7
    Watch your portion sizes. Eating a whole bag of rice cakes in one sitting won't help you lose weight. When eating chips, nuts, or dried fruit, put a portion in a small bowl and then put the bag away. That way you won't mindlessly eat a larger portion than you had intended. Even if you only make minimal changes to your diet choices, reducing portion size will inevitably reduce caloric intake. A great way to watch portion sizes while snacking is to buy one serving 100 calorie packages - and they come in many favorite snack food items! Eat slowly to avoid overeating; you will get satisfied with less calories.
  8. 8
    Graze on healthy snacks. Just because you're getting healthy doesn't mean you can't snack. In fact, eating small meals and snacks throughout the day, or grazing, has been shown to aid weight loss, compared to eating three large meals a day, by keeping metabolism steadier. Pick snacks that are low in calories and fat and high in fiber dried apricots, nuts, rice cakes, fruits, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and so on. Vegetables are generally very low in calories, very high in fiber, and full of flavor and nutrition. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, and try to eat vegetables plain, without fatty dressings or dips. Fruit also makes a good snack. Fruit contains more soluble fiber than vegetables, which slows your body's absorption of carbohydrates, thus releasing energy more slowly preventing sugar highs, and keeping you feeling full longer. Fruit juices are not a replacement for the real thing. You need that fiber, and juices often have more calories than the equivalent serving of fruit and as many calories as soda! Be careful with dried fruits, because without the water, you tend to eat more, and fruits, when dried, are calorie-rich per ounce. With any dry or dried food, be sure to drink plenty of water.
  9. 9
    Get more fiber. There are many myths about fiber, but there is science to back up its helpful role in the diet. Fiber keeps the right amount of water in your intestines, making your digestive system work more efficiently and helping to keep you regular. Thus, just eating enough fiber may help you feel slimmer in just a day or so. There is also evidence that fiber in the diet can help prevent stroke and heart disease, ease the effects of diabetes, and may even directly help in weight loss.
  10. 10
    Drink plenty of water. An adequate amount of water is essential for health, and a great many people simply don't get enough. What's more, if you're chronically dehydrated, your body will retain water in unflattering places, so if you make sure to get plenty of fluids you can start visibly trimming down in as little as a day. Remember, the more you exercise, the more water you'll need. See the related wikiHow for more details on how much water you should be getting. Drink one glass of water before your meal; it will help digestion and also to get the sensation of fullness in your stomach that will keep you from overeating; that in combination with eating slowly, will allow you to stop eating when you are satisfied, not when you already ate too much (If you eat too fast you can get full, even bloated but still be hungry) .
  11. 11
    Write down your targets on sticky note pads and then stick them in most spaces of your home. These stuck notes will always remind you of your goal and will further inspire you to stay on your regime. They would not let you forget your goals at any time.
  12. 12
    Exercise. Remember, you can lose weight either by decreasing your calorie intake or increasing the number of calories you burn. Any health strategy should include both, but if you want to lose weight fast, exercise is essential. By making time for exercise and other healthy, productive activities, you can also avoid temptation to overeat.
    • Perform low impact aerobic activities. Moderate aerobic workouts incorporating brisk walking, cycling, aerobic machines, or swimming not only burn calories they also keep your heart healthy. Swimming is great, especially if you are quite overweight or have joint problems, because you can get the same benefits of running typically burning even more calories with much less stress on your joints. Try to get at least 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three or four days per week.
    • Pump some iron. Resistance training, weight training, can help both sexes stay lean by building muscle and raising metabolism. The fact is, hours and hours of aerobic exercise won't help most people lose weight fast because your metabolism drops back to normal fairly quickly after stopping the exercise. If you gain muscle, however, your body's resting metabolism, (the amount of calories you burn when you're just sitting still), increases, because muscle requires a lot of calories to maintain. Studies have shown consistent weight training to raise the body's metabolism by 15%. This means an average woman might burn 200-300 more calories at rest every day! Resistance training is the gift that keeps on giving!
    • It can be fun! Although you're losing weight through possibly painful exercises, it doesn't necessarily have to be a boring and painful procedure. If you want some extra motivation that will cover up the pain, get the video game Wii Fit. Built by Nintendo, this system helps you do exercises such as yoga, aerobics, strength training, and balance. If you want to work on burning calories, you can always run, but when you run on Wii Fit, it's twice as fun, because you always have a score to beat, and if you're competitive enough, it's a great way to burn the calories and get in shape.
  13. 13
    Rest properly. This means not only taking at least 24-48 hours between strength training the same muscles, and taking 1-2 days off from exercising each week; it also means knowing how much sleep you need, since sleep deficiency impairs your ability to lose fat.
  14. 14
    Be realistic. Don't expect a miracle. Healthy weight loss can be achieved fairly quickly, but you'll need to be patient. In addition, be sure to set realistic goals. Make sure that the weight you're trying to reach is a healthy weight for you, and keeping in mind that gaining pounds of muscle will help you lose fat, be trimmer, and look better even though you don't actually lose any weight. Your goal should be a healthy body, not a number of pounds! Everyone looks good at a different weight. A short person may look really good at about 112 pounds, but a person of a taller height would just look unhealthy. Keep yourself at a weight that makes you look good, not at a number that sounds good.
  15. 15
    Make adjustments. A successful weight loss strategy based on reducing calorie intake and increasing activity can be adjusted to maintain your desired weight once you reach it. Unlike typical diets, this method is sustainable; it is a lifestyle change, not a binge-and-purge exercise. Slowly adjust your diet and exercise to include more weight training and calories, as much as is comfortable for you. If you do gain any weight back, you want that weight to be lean, toned muscle, not fat. In addition, weight training, no matter what your age, prevents muscle atrophy and can help stave off osteoporosis.
    • Instead of thinking of it as losing a certain amount of pounds, think of it as being a certain weight. So if you are 145 pounds, and you would like to lose 10 pounds, think of it as being 135 pounds. This helps you think about it as a long-term goal and not just losing the weight to gain it back again.
  16. 16
    Be confident. You need to believe in yourself! If you want to diet, and you know that it will make you feel better, then you need confidence. Otherwise, the temptation to cheat on your diet will make it harder, and you will not feel better when you do lose weight. Avoid temptations like chocolate, ice cream, and cookies. They may taste good, but there are other foods that taste delicious, too, without being unhealthy. You need to always encourage yourself to achieve the goals that you have set. Learn to evaluate your efforts fairly and objectively. If you fail to achieve your target for the week, find out why is it so. Is it because you have missed an exercise session? Or you have been eating junk food for one of the days? After evaluating, look ahead to next week and try your best to stick to your plan.
  17. 17
    Be consistent and disciplined, and have self motivation. To lose weight effectively, you need to stick to your weight loss plan religiously so as to see results. When you think about giving up, visualize the benefits of slimming down successfully.
  18. 18
    After you achieve your targets successfully, you must maintain your weight loss. You must form a way of life that is healthy for you. Make certain that you don't gain back the weight you lost by returning to your old eating habits.
  19. 19
    You can simplify weight loss with a pre-planned diet, many of which involve ready-made food. Be especially cautious of and do not spend long (more than, say, a month) on a diet which involves an extremely restricted variety of foods; do not use any that involves drugs without consulting a doctor. Some involve special versions of a variety of more-or-less ordinary food.
    • Preparing menus and queuing up portions of food well in advance can help you stick to a diet (by having a well-defined diet to which to stick) and avoid reminders to think about varieties of food daily, which is very helpful when trying to eat less of it. This can help you easily stick to and enjoy a diet such as Nutrisystem or any other.
  20. 20
    Find a weight loss support group. Weight loss support groups are very important when losing weight. They keep you accountable to your goals. Hate going to meetings? You can always try an online support group.


  • Try this amazing website that helped guide me through my weight loss journey. It was easy, cheap, and gave me that extra push to continue losing weight the healthy way!
    • It is best to drink freshly made juice right away, as the longer it is stored, the more it will decline in nutrition. You can put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimal amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air (air is about 20 percent oxygen) will “oxidize” and damage the juice. Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light. Light damages the juice.
  • Motivation is key when losing weight. If you are not motivated, you will forget about your goal and simply drop out. If you want to stay focused, the best strategy is to get a book on losing weight and bring it everywhere you go. By doing this, you're remembering to lose weight no matter where you are. There are books on weight loss everywhere. Just pick one and you're all set to go.
  • For maximum health, especially if you are changing your dietetic routine in any drastic manner, start a diabetic diet of vegetables, fruits, proteins in small portions of poultry, fish, eggs, and meat. Build your diet from there.
  • Determine your objectives to lose weight. To succeed in doing something, you need to have a very compelling objective or reason so that you will not lose track of your goal. Losing weight just for vanity's sake is usually less helpful than losing weight to improve health. Other than just exercising, you need to have a healthy diet so that you will have a better body and more energy to be positive throughout the day.
  • It's very good to do a blood test before you begin your new diet and exercise regimen. Some people may not need to lose a lot of weight, but they may need to lower the blood sugar level slightly. You can also check for mineral deficiencies.
  • The goal is to lose fat, not just weight in general. If you are doing strength training during your weight loss (which you should be), you might actually see an initial gain in weight -- don't worry! You have probably lost fat and gained muscle, which is denser than fat and is much healthier.
    • A better measurement than what a scale reads is body fat percent. If you don't have access to calipers or a body fat scale, a better gauge is how your clothes fit and how you look rather than your absolute weight. If you can, though, it is good to measure your body fat about once per month. Men should be between 15%-25%, but no lower than 4%; and women 20%-30%, but no lower than 15%. Females have higher fat percentage due to pregnancy and menstrual requirements.
    • Generally, with a combination of calorie reduction and increased activity, you want to reduce and burn a certain number of calories a day, causing a net loss of calories so your body is forced to use its own stores of fat. How much aerobic exercise you need to perform depends on what you eat, how fast you'd like to lose weight, and how much muscle you gain. A pound of fat contains 3500 calories. Men can safely lose around two pounds a week, and women can safely lose around one pound a week. Any more than this and you might be losing more muscle mass than fat. Thus, with a combination of calorie restriction and aerobic exercise, a man should aim to run a 3500-7000 calorie deficit each week, and women should aim for a 1750-3500 calorie deficit.
  • With regard to weights, men and women differ on their goals with weight training. Women, don't worry, no amount of weight training will make you as bulky as a man; women just don't have enough testosterone to build large muscles. The female body-builders you see are either taking steroids or training 2-3 hours every day. Male and female beginners should start with 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, and should use the heaviest weight you can while still maintaining good form, even to the last repetition of the last set. Get a weight training book or find a reputable website that will show you different exercises and the correct form. When lifting properly, you will stretch the muscle during the exercise, but you should still stretch properly to prevent injury!
  • No matter what the magazine article says, spot improving is a myth! When your body burns fat, it takes it from all over your body, even if all you do are crunches. No amount of crunches will get rid of that gut if they are not backed up by proper aerobic exercise and diet! Washboard abs do not come from millions of sit ups; they come from having low levels of body fat. So if that is your goal, make sure you do plenty of aerobic exercise in addition to your ab routine.
  • Sugar comes in many disguises. Check your food labels: fructose, glucose, molasses, and corn syrup are all sugars. Limit all sugars, but especially stay away from high-fructose corn syrup. It is just a corn syrup full of sugar. Choosing foods without it will help you reach your weight loss goals faster.
  • Remember your body needs 'fuel' just like a car needs 'fuel'. Your body needs the 'right' kinds of food to lose weight effectively.
  • Don't taunt yourself by not letting yourself eat the occasional snack that you're craving. Just make sure you burn it off later with exercise
  • Despite popular belief it is not terrible to eat after 6 p.m. A reasonable dinner with extra protein if you've had a good weight training session is going to help deliver nutrients to the body to prepare it for the next day. Additionally if you find yourself very hungry before bed, a small bowl of high fiber cereal and low fat milk will actually help maintain your metabolism while you sleep. The key is to not overeat in the evenings.
  • Take the right vitamins for your requirements. While it is better to always get your nutrients from your food, most people miss something in their diet, especially when they're trying to cut calories. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping your body chemistry balanced and your energy levels healthy.
  • If you find yourself missing some of your favorite foods, don't worry. There is no harm in having your treat once a week. Pick a day each week where you treat yourself to your guilty pleasure in moderation. If it's pizza, try going to a gourmet pizza place that will use better ingredients and fresher vegetables. If it's a fast food burger, try making your own. Ahomemade burger is generally much healthier than the food they serve in fast food restaurants. Electric grills that are slanted to allow most of the fat to slide off make nice, lean burgers.
  • Save some calories for potassium and protein for after you work out, this will help reduce soreness. A banana and an egg does the trick.
  • Do not forget to stretch. Stretching can help increase your strength and flexibility.
  • Cut down on your sodium. Many prepared foods have as much as 30% of your daily value. You get your daily requirement of sodium from a healthy diet; too much can cause you to retain water weight.
  • Try not to skip any meals as this only makes your body to retain fats for energy. A good weight loss plan is to eat healthily and exercise regularly.
  • To continue to lose weight fast, eat a variety of foods. Just like in weight training, the body will get used to the same routine and plateau. Mix up the foods you eat to keep your metabolism high and prevent a metabolism plateau.
  • Your breathing can also help increase your metabolic rate, and in turn enable you to burn calories more efficiently.
  • You can reduce your caloric intake by eating slowly; your brain needs about 20 minutes to get the signal that you are not hungry anymore, if you eat fast your stomach can get bloated and you will still feel hungry, the extra calories will be accumulated as fat. Eating slowly gets you satisfied with less food without feeling hungry or deprived.
  • You can actually lose weight by eating slowly. Because eating slowly gives your the hypothalamus in your brain to register that you are satisfied and that will allow you to stop before you overeat; it takes your brain about 20 minutes to get the signal that you are satisfied. This is why doctors recommend that you eat several small meals while keeping the same daily calorie/carbohydrate limits. The healthy goal is to be satisfied, not full. If you've satisfied your biological needs, but you're not full, then you've probably over indulged in the past to the extent that your stomach is expanded too much. Eat until you are satisfied, and no more, and your stomach will shrink back to its normal size.


  • If you do smoke, it would be best to quit before you start losing weight. Smoking is very dangerous and it has many unhealthy chemicals that could cause your road to weight loss to be a lot more difficult. When you quit, you will gain a few pounds, but it will come off a lot easier than if you still smoked.
  • Always consult a doctor before changing your dietetic routine. Also, make regular appointments with a registered nutritionist.
  • Do not try to starve yourself. In the short run, reducing your calorie intake to unhealthily low levels will slow metabolism and actually cause you to lose weight more slowly. Then your body cannot process potassium so when you DO eat again, (the alternative to dying), you will gain much more weight than you would if you weren't starving yourself and overall, you may end up gaining more than you lost. In the long run, starving yourself (anorexia or bulimia) can kill you. It's better to eat moderate amounts of healthy food than it is to not eat at all.
  • Muscle mass weighs more than fat, so don't be surprised if you gain weight but look slimmer.
  • When starting a weight lifting routine, do not focus on a single muscle or group, doing so will overbuild that muscle while under building others - in other words, if you work your biceps, and not your triceps, your arms will begin to curl inward and you will look silly. If you work your chest and not your back, you will have a hard time maintaining good posture as your pectoral muscles overpower your back muscles and pull your shoulders forward.
  • A balanced workout also strengthens all the joints and smaller tie-in muscles, those most likely to become injured if bigger muscles over power the smaller ones. Have a personal trainer or a fitness facility provide a balanced workout and stretching routine.
  • If you have a serious medical condition (such as asthma or diabetes, or allergy to protein such as dairy products or you have lactose intolerance) or you are severely obese, consult with your doctor as well as a dietitian.
  • Do not take any harmful drugs. They are unhealthy and may ultimately make you gain weight instead.
  • Carefully consider whether you need dietary supplements. Most people may get the basic minerals and nutrients they need to sustain life through eating food. For example, excessive multivitamin supplements can make you overdose in some vitamins you need, and you can't store most water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C as any excess will be urinated. Although you could be below the recommended daily intake, that doesn't necessarily mean you are deficient in it if it's a kind that is stored. So you may wish to consult with your doctor or dietitian to inquire whether you need supplements and how much you should take.
  • Losing weight too quickly is dangerous and can have adverse effects on your health. For instance, it can in some people cause the gallbladder to damage itself by accumulating gallstones. Despite the title of this article, getting into shape is best done slowly. If you find yourself losing more than 2 pounds, or more than 1000g, each week, you are probably doing something wrong.

How to Write a Cover Letter

Write a Cover Letter
You could write the best resume in the world and be highly qualified for a job, but if your cover letter is poorly written, generic, or misguided, you can pretty much throw your chances out the window. The cover letter is your first, and sometimes your only opportunity to grab an employer's attention and let them know why your resume is worth reading. Since there are many different ways to write a cover letter, depending on the employer and the method of transmission, for example, here are some ways to make yours stand out along with some examples you can tweak to your liking.


Before Writing the Letter

  1. 1
    Update your resume. If you don't already have a resume, then write one -- the experiences and skills you list on your resume should be tailored to the particular position you're applying for, reflecting strengths that will be desirable to your potential employer.
  2. 2
    Research the target organization or business so you can include information or facts relating to your desired job or industry. This will not only help you in writing a relevant cover letter but it will also be useful if you get an interview. Some key items you should become familiar with:
    • What is the employer's mission? What do they promote as setting themselves apart from competitors?
    • What kind of customer base does the employer cater to? What kinds of people are in their target market?
    • What are the company or organization's values? Innovation? Service? Diversity? Sustainability?
    • What is the history of the employer? Who was the founder? How has the business or organization evolved?
  3. 3
    Analyze the job. Read the job description carefully. Check for the noted and assumed needs and determine the most important skills, qualifications and experience the employer is looking for. Write them down, and put a check mark next to the ones you have.
  4. 4
    Find the name of the manager in charge of the department you want to work in. Use your network. Do you know someone who is in the company or industry? Can they help you? If not, call the HR department.

While Writing the Letter

  1. 1
    Format the heading elements correctly. Line spacing and address conventions mainly apply for a paper cover letter. For an online version that is not likely to be printed out, the date alone may be sufficient, or not even required.
    • Include your address at the top (in the left-hand corner - approximately 1 inch down from the top of the page).
    • Skip down 4 lines and enter the date.
    • Skip down 4 more lines and enter the Contact Person, then the name and address of the company. Write to a specific person, not "To whom it may concern", or "Dear Sir/Madam", whenever possible.
  2. 2
    Write the body of your letter with three or four paragraphs.
    • In the first paragraph, tell the employer why you're writing to them in two or three sentences. State the position you are applying for. Avoid the standard openings like "I wish to apply for the position of ___ advertised in ___". Design your opening to get the reader to sit up and pay attention to what you can do. It's unnecessary to specify how you became aware of the position unless it's through a mutual contact or recruiting program. If you're writing a letter of interest (also known as a prospecting or inquiry letter), in which you're asking about positions that might be available, specify why you are interested in working for the employer.
    • In the next one or two paragraphs, outline your qualifications and match them to the requirements of the position. Show enthusiasm and a desire to help the companyreach its goals. Show the employer what you can contribute to their bottom line, not what you want to get out of the deal. Use what you've researched about the employer's background and history. Try to make two or three solid points, backed up by specific examples. Relate some relevant details about the company so the employer knows you did some research ahead of time.
    • In the final paragraph, include a positive statement or question that will cause the employer to want to take action. Make this closing paragraph between 2-4 sentences. Direct the employer to the enclosed resume, make your availability known for an interview, and if you want to be assertive, state when you will contact them to set up a meeting time to discuss the opportunity in further detail. Provide your own contact information (phone number, e-mail address) and welcome them to get in touch. It's very important to finish off by thanking the employer for their time and consideration.
  3. 3
    Conclude with "Yours sincerely," (if you have addressed the letter to a named person), "Yours faithfully," (if you have used a "Dear Sir" approach) or "Regards." Leave four blank lines to sign your name in blue ink. If you use black ink, they may think it is a copy. If this is online, leave only one or two blank lines.
  4. 4
    Proofread. This is essential. Some things to look out for are:
    • Be sure you have spelled everything correctly.
    • Own what you've accomplished, grammatically speaking (e.g. avoid "this experience gave me the opportunity to..." or worse, "these goals were met by me."). You don't want to sound like everything happened to you or was done by some other entity. Make yourself the active subject of every sentence (e.g. In this experience, I developed/reinforced/learned/etc."). But that doesn't mean every single sentence should start with "I..." so vary your syntax accordingly.
    • Break down any contractions (e.g. "I've" to "I have").
    • Avoid colloquial (informal) writing. You want to sound professional, objective, and educated.
    • Check the punctuation use carefully.
    • Keep the letter to one page -- the purpose of the cover letter is to get the hiring manager to read your resume! If the letter is spilling onto a second page, it's time to tighten your points and edit the fluff.
    • Your tone should be upbeat, professional and informative. The employer wants to know what you can do for them, so sell yourself and your skills in a positive way. Keep that in mind as you write and proofread each paragraph.

Cover Letter Exercise

Answer the following questions, then use each answer in the corresponding spot of the sample cover letter:
  1. 1
    Name of person you are addressing the contact letter to.
  2. 2
    Your role or current job.
    • "graduate student in environmental science"
    • "customer service professional"
  3. 3
    A general description of your accomplishments/experiences in the field to which you are applying.
    • "fifteen years of customer service"
    • "an outstanding background in scientific research and discovery"
    • "a solid history of dependability in the automotive industry"
  4. 4
    A positive description of the employer.
    • "what many consider to be the most progressive medical institution in the state of Rhode Island"
    • "a well-established company with a long history of gourmet creativity"
  5. 5
    Assets you can offer to the company. List one to three.
    • "extensive experience with start-ups"
    • "demonstrated ability to solve problems"
    • "refined ability to manage teams"
  6. 6
    Key skill/experience/accomplishment, and how it can help the company achieve its mission. List two to three of these. Be specific.
  7. Dear (1):
As a (2) with (3), I am eager to contribute my abilities and experience to (4). Given my (5), I believe I can help (employer name) achieve its mission and goals as a (position).
I would like to continue contributing my abilities and experiences to (employer name) and would be happy to discuss in further detail how I can accomplish this. My resume is enclosed for your convenience. Feel free to contact me at (phone number and/or e-mail address). I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
(In this space sign your name)

(Your name printed after four spaces)



  • A good cover letter should not sound like a re-hash of your resume. It should pull highlights from your resume and tie it gracefully with the job description. Consider it a bridge between your resume and the position you're seeking.
  • Make your cover letter visually appealing and coordinated with your resume. Use the same personal information block in the heading of your cover letter and your resume. A cohesive resume package is a very attractive selling point. If using paper (i.e., not online), use the same high quality paper for the cover letter as for your resume.
  • At the same time, do not overdo the style elements. One type font is never wrong (especially if you are in the arts and applying for a job that requires a resume). Choose a font that is simple but elegant. Avoid uncommon decorative fonts unless you are applying for a job where being quirky is of greater value than being businesslike AND the people who are doing the hiring are on board with this philosophy.
  • Be concise. Never use two words when one will do (avoid verbosity). Always strike the word "very" and eliminate the word "that" as much as you can.
  • The more unconventional the employer, the more leeway for creativity you have in writing a cover letter.
  • You should use a different cover letter for every job application. It must be specific to the exact role that you are applying for.
  • Always request an interview, and be ready for one.
  • Think about how you'll answer the question "tell me about yourself." The interviewer doesn't really want you to go back to grade school and talk about your childhood. This is a specific question with a specific two minutes or so, the interviewer wants to get you to relax and loosen out your vocal cords, understand your background, your accomplishments, why you want to work at XYZ company and what your future goals are.
  • When thinking of accomplishments, describe problems you've encountered in the past and how you handled them. They'll basically want to know how you'll perform when faced with obstacles in the position you're interviewing for. Be able to give honest, detailed examples from your past.
  • When researching the company, don't just do an Internet search, memorize their mission, and be done with it. If it's a retail company, visit a few of their stores, observe the customers, and even strike up a few conversations. Talk to existing employees--ask them what it's like working there, how long the position has been open, and what you can do to increase your chances of getting it. Become familiar with the history of the company. Who started it? Where? Who runs it now? Be creative, and do whatever you think the other candidates don't have the guts to do.


  • This is not your autobiography. Keep it well under a page.
  • Avoid generic, empty language ("I will bring a depth of experience," or, "I believe my qualifications and experience suit the demands of the position"). Be specific and concrete about what you can bring to the position.
  • If you're doing a thorough job search, you will get rejected sometimes. If you're not getting rejected, you're not putting yourself out there enough. And if you don't learn to see rejection as a chance to improve your approach, then you'll have a very difficult time getting a job.