What is the importance of a cover letter and a resume?
What is a cover letter?
Your formal introduction
The first read can make or break your entry.
- The goal is to get an interview
- Should be brief and interesting
- Should not be a carbon copy of your resume
- Should highlight what you’ll bring to the job
- Should be versatile, suitable for several jobs
It highlights key points in your resume.
Expresses your interest in a position.
Shows off your qualifications to a prospective employer.
Once you’ve done research and have a good idea of what qualifications the company is looking for, it’s time to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.
Before you begin writing your letter, take some time to brainstorm. Make a list of reasons why you’re the ideal candidate.
What should I include in my cover letter and resume?Do not overuse “I”
Instead place the focus on the employer and use the word “you”.
Avoid writing more than one page; since you are probably competing with other applicants, employers just don’t have the time to read two pages.
The point of the cover letter is to bring out your resume selling points, but don’t repeat the same things that appear in your resume.
You should address the letter to a specific person at the company you’re applying to. You can usually find a name in the company’s publications or you can inquire by telephone.
Example of Header:
James L. Pierce
750 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95826
If you are addressing the letter to a specific person, start out with the formal salutation: Dear Mr. Pierce. If you don’t know the name use: Dear Hiring Manager.
Refrain from using the old standby’s: To whom it may concern or Dear Sir or Madam.
The opening paragraph should accomplish a couple of goals:
- It should grab the reader’s attention
- Discuss the position you are applying for
- List your references or how you heard about the job
- Highlight the main points you will focus on in the letter
- Refer employers to certain points in your resume
- Emphasize your strongest qualifications or top selling points
- Show how these qualifications will benefit the company you’re applying for
- You may provide examples of your achievements that have benefited previous companies
- Be specific in your descriptions
- Ask for an interview
- Set up a possible time and date
- Try using an active ending; in other words, rather than asking them to contact you, tell them you will contact them in a few days.
- Be genuine and thank them for their time
How many times should I revise my cover letter and resume before submitting?
Double and triple check before sending.
Check for spelling errors and typos--professionalism is a must.
Don’t go over a page.
Always customize your cover letter. Don’t forget to change your contact information when necessary.
Maintain a friendly and professional tone throughout the letter.