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A Quick Guide to Cover Letters That Work

Aug 30, 2008
The importance of your cover letter in the hunt for employment cannot be stressed enough. The quality and composition of your cover letter will be the key factor on whether an HR director chooses to view your resumé or disregard it so you'll want to spend some time preparing and polishing it to take full advantage of your brief window of opportunity. To that end, here is a quick guide to help your cover letters stand out and be noticed. You only have one opportunity to make a long last impression when the hiring manager or a decision maker looks at a resume or cover letter so it is important to have a wow factor so that your resume does not end up in the trash.

- Complement your resumé, don't duplicate it--First impressions are crucially important so always bear in mind that your cover letter will be your first contact with your potential employer. Convey information that complements your resumé and add personal touches that pique their interest.

- Customize for each position--Generic cover letters imply a low level of interest in the position and will be dismissed straightaway. A little extra effort on customization will make a big impact on whether your resumé is reviewed or not.

- Strike a balance between brevity and pertinent information--Concision is important. Never use two words where one will suffice.

- Highlight key strengths--Present your key strengths as they apply to that particular position. Give the reader several reasons to continue reading your cover letter and your resumé.

- Don't be afraid to use bullet points--HR directors initially scan cover letters rather than read them word for word. Using bullet points to convey pertinent information makes it far easier for them than reading dense blocks of text.

- Grammar and spelling--Check, double-check, and then check your cover letter again for errors of any kind that may undermine your credibility. You may also want to have a trusted friend or colleague review it as well because a fresh set of eyes will find grammar and punctuation errors that you may have overlooked.

- Remember the goal--Always remember that the purpose of your cover letter is to pique their interest, create a connection, and encourage the reader to review your resumé. Write specifically for this target audience and your chances of making that connection will be enhanced significantly.

There are lots of cover letter templates on the Internet which can be used to help you get started, but use them for inspiration rather than following them to the last detail. Remember that HR directors look at hundreds of cover letters each month, and if they have any reason to believe that you're going through the motions rather than making the extra effort to craft your own unique cover letter, your resumé will seldom get noticed. Use these cover letter ideas and incorporate some of your own to increase your chances of getting noticed and landing an interview!
About the Author
Jeff Tomlin has been an expert in producing resumes and resume cover letters that actually work for many years. Jeff Tomlin and his website have personally helped over 285,000 job seekers. Jeff has completed a library of resume template and sample cover letters to help those looking to make a career switch. To find out how Jeff can help you please visit http://www.landjob.com and find out today.
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