Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cover Letter Secrets

For some reason, cover letters frighten people to death. They never know where to start them and there is an uncontrollable urge to cram them with as much information as possible. It is as if they were trying to talk the person into hiring them, or at least interviewing them based on the cover letter. Then you have the people who send out the same résumé for every job and think the cover letter is the thing that should be customized to the position. The downside to that line of thought is you might convince someone in a cover letter you can do the job, however when the reader looks at the résumé they aren’t getting the same message. The cover letter and the résumé must sell you as the right candidate for a desired position.

Keep in mind your cover letter should not be a repeat of everything that is in your résumé. If it is, then what is the point of the résumé in the first place? Your cover letter should give the Hiring Manager a good reason to continue reading what you have sent them.

The cover letter needs to tell them how you heard about the position or the company. You also need to explain briefly why you are a good match for the position and show them you have done your homework and know something about the company, what they do, and that you believe in what they do. If you are responding to an ad you also need to reflect back to them that you actually read the thing and understand the position. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for the interview.

Finally the most important secret to a good cover letter is, keep it short. Those long cover letters can be so difficult to read when you’re yawning.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerland Skills 101 / Job development


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