Cover Letter FAQ
What is the purpose of a cover letter? A cover letter is your introduction to the employer and highlights your best qualities and how you would bring value to the employer. Your goal is to kee...
A cover letter is your introduction to the employer and highlights your best qualities and how you would bring value to the employer. Your goal is to keep the reader’s interest throughout the letter and to make them eager to read your resume. A cover letter is also an excellent tool for explaining issues that are not apparent from your resume. You may clarify in the letter why you are seeking employment with that particular company or why you are unemployed or why there is a gap in employment.
Yes. Many employers do not bother to read them, but to other employers, they are evidence that you are thorough and serious about opportunities with their company and serious about your job search.
The letter should be in standard business letter format with your information at the top in the identical format as it appears on your resume.
It should be no more than one page. Hiring personnel have limited time and will not read more than several paragraphs. The cover letter simply highlights what is to come on the following resume.
It depends. Generally, you should never include salary information or requirements in a cover letter; however, if the job advertisement states that it is required, then you need to include it. As a rule though, salary discussion should not come into play until after a first interview unless the employer brings it up.
Absolutely not. Every cover letter should be targeted to each specific job and company to which you apply. Otherwise, your letter may appear irrelevant to some jobs or not highlight the most relevant qualities you would bring to the job. In those cases, the employer may also get the impression that you are too lazy to bother to use a tailored cover letter. A smart suggestion is have one general cover letter saved on your computer that you alter a bit for each company or each job for which you apply.
Do research. Do not address the letter to Human Resources and write “Dear Sir or Madam”. Find out the name of the person who will be reviewing resumes to determine which candidates to interview. This demonstrates to the resume reviewer that you took the time to the seek information and personalizes the letter. A variety of company information is often available online, through local Chambers of Commerce, or by calling the company directly. Unless you have completely exhausted all means and cannot find out to whom you should address the letter, there should be a name on the letter.
If your former company closed or you were laid off, there is no harm in saying so. If you were fired, say nothing. If you are returning to the workforce after a break of a year or more, explain why in a positive manner, mentioning any volunteer work in which you were involved or additional training you completed during that time.
The first paragraph should include how you heard about the job opening and/or why you are seeking opportunities with the company. Discuss how your professional attributes, accomplishments, and experience meet the employer’s needs and are a match to the available position. Just include highlights and do not simply repeat word-for-word what is on your resume. Your closing paragraph should request a time to meet to discuss employment opportunities and thank the person for their time and consideration. You may also briefly re-state why you are the best candidate for the job.
Make your statements employer-focused and value-based. They are not interested in what you are looking for in an ideal company. They want to know what value you bring to the table. Why should they hire you? Also, use powerful verbs and industry keywords in describing your qualities, including keywords from the job description. Subtly inject your personality and add sizzle with distinctive impact statements about your abilities (no arrogance though) to keep the letter from being boring.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Krista Mitchell is a Certified Professional Resume Writer crafting resumes designed to showcase your value with impact and is a leading job search industry expert. Her website also features articles to aid you in your job search. Free comprehensive resume reviews as well as full resume and cover letter writing services offered. http://www.composureresumes.com ~Pages for the next chapter in your career...~