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Why An Entry-level Cover Letter Is So Important

Nov 12, 2007
Whether you are looking for a career change or graduating from college, a strong entry-level cover letter is a valuable thing. Consider it the knock that gets your foot in the door. An entry-level cover letter has to do three things. It has to grab the potential employer's attention from the get-go. It needs to showcase any skills you have already acquired and how they relate to the position. Finally, the cover letter must illustrate that you understand the job and that you have a strong interest it.

Attention-grabbing is a fine art. Weird fonts, colored paper and glitter are not attention grabbers for the professional set. A salutation addressed to the specific hiring manager is. This vital step should never be overlooked and is worth its weight in gold. If necessary, contact the company to obtain the hiring manager's name. Ask for the appropriate spelling as first names vary and surnames can be tricky. Sometimes this information can be obtained from the company website but if you do so, confirm with a follow-up phone call.

A strong, creative headline and a commanding first sentence is certain to lengthen the reader's attention span. Stay away from boring titles like "Experienced Manager Seeks Career Change". This example is vague and lacks inspiration - two bad signs for prospective employers. Managers are looking for more than just a body to fill an empty space. They want someone who displays competence and enthusiasm for the task at hand. Compose a unique, professional title for your letter so that it does not take the short route to the waste basket. The content of the first sentence is critical to keep the manager reading. Try to make every word count.

You may not think you have the skills required but if you dig a little deeper you are likely to find that you have some at your disposal already. Basic skills are often transferable from one position or industry to another. Computer proficiency is important to virtually any business. Customer service skills are priceless and indicate that you are capable of providing quality work. Take time to dot all the i's and cross all the t's . Prove that you pay attention to the details. Misspelled words and poor grammar are immediate turn-offs and will get your submission tossed before the hiring manager ever makes it to your resume.

Avoid the pre-fabricated cover letter samples you find in books and on the Internet. Using them as a guide to create your own original cover letter is fine. Never, ever just plug in your information as a quick fix. Do something to the format to make it your own or the hiring manager is likely to see right through it. Bear in mind, that hiring managers often read hundreds of letters in response to job postings. A formulaic letter is not likely to catch their eye. A well-thought composition that took obvious effort on the part of the applicant will pique their attention.

Make your cover letter reader friendly. Bulleted lists are easy on the eyes and draw attention to key points and accomplishments. Some white space focuses the reader's attention. Reading a cover letter composed of long paragraphs is time-consuming. The longer a manager spends dissecting your letter, the less likely it is that they will make it to your resume. Reading long passages of text requires more time than scanning a letter for qualifications that stand out.

Getting to the point is important but so is a little additional information, in this case. The entry-level aspect pits you against the applicants who already have experience in the field. Your cover letter must cite a compelling reason for your interest in or knowledge of the line of work. Convey your intent to enter the field with conviction. Be specific about your reasons for pursuing a career in the industry and the manager will quickly take notice. Managers want more than just basic information. They want an asset to the company and your cover letter should demonstrate that you are that asset.

Never underestimate the power of the first impression. Your cover letter is your first impression on a potential employer. Making a strong impression is important when you are competing with applicants who already have experience. Entry-level cover letters must make a good first impression quickly. After making that impression, the cover letter must hold the hiring manger's interest in order to net the desired result. The importance of a good entry-level cover letter is undeniable. Just because you are a beginner doesn't mean you have to look like one.
About the Author
Mario Churchill is a freelance author and has written over 200 articles on various subjects. For more information on entry level cover letter checkout his recommended websites.
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