During 2013, I blogged about the value of providing a follow up email after your interview in order to help land that perfect position. Perhaps equally as important in the job search process, is including a carefully crafted cover letter or skills summary to accompany your resume, so you present a targeted and concise summary outlining how you are the perfect fit for the role. Since most resumes and applications are submitted via the web these days, recruiters and hiring managers need to scan material quickly to get a sense of who they wish to interview.
A cover letter will often allow you to specifically match your qualifications to the job requirements to a degree that may be difficult to do on a résumé. Essentially a well written cover letter will increase your chances to ‘stand out’ and catch the attention of the perspective employer.
Here are some tips for creating an eye-catching cover letter:
Never send a ‘generic’ or standard ‘form’ cover letter – always customize the cover letter to the job and company you are applying to. Essentially, if your cover letter could apply to ‘any’ job/company, then it isn’t targeted enough. You want to show the employer that you took the time and wrote the cover letter specifically for the job you are applying for.
Write in a clear and concise manner– the cover letter should not be any longer than 1 page and should specifically outline how you would add value to the organization. You want to make an impact quickly, with specifics that say ‘You need to interview me!”
Choose approx. 3 – 5 key points where you feel your qualifications directly make you a standout, and highlight the specifics. Using Bullet points rather than long sentences can often make it easy for an employer to read.
Include details that may not be covered in your résumé, such as the reason for a gap in employment history or why you took a position outside of your career track.
While a resume is still your main reference point outlining your experience, skills, and qualifications, a well-crafted cover letter will hopefully help your perspective employer feel the need to learn more about you, and schedule the interview as a next step.
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