Career Resources

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't let your cover letter be an after-thought

Most people spend lots of time perfecting their resume and tweaking it until they get it just right. However, many people do not take the same approach with regard to cover letters. In their haste to apply for a really great position, some people quickly write a cover letter, or copy and paste sections from other cover letters, because they want to be one of the first applicants to apply or simply because they don't feel like taking the time to write a good cover letter. It is often haphazardly thrown together as an after-thought.

Employers can easily see the difference between a cover letter that is quickly thrown together and one in which the applicant has put a lot of effort. Rapidly-fired covered letters will more likely have errors in spelling, punctuation and formatting. It may be evident that the writer has taken a mass marketing approach to applying for jobs. And just as quickly as they have been churned out, they will quickly be tossed into the "no" pile.

Writing a good cover letter does take time and it does require thought and, yes, it does involve some work. But the payoff is well worth it. If you have only one page to sell yourself to an employer, you need to utilize that space to your best advantage. The small investment of time and toil that it takes to write an effective cover letter could be the thing that separates you from the competition, that makes you stand out in the crowd.

Be enthusiastic and positive in your cover letter at all times. Clearly demonstrate to the employer how your qualifications match the needs and requirements for the position. I like to call it "connecting the dots." You need to make the connection between your resume and the job posting and not leave it up to the employer to try and figure it out.

By taking the time to write a tailored, targeted cover letter for each and every job, you will increase your chances of landing the interview and wouldn't that be time well spent?

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