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Cover Letter
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General Considerations

You've found a job opening, and you're all set to send your resume except for one road block - you need a cover letter. You know its got to be a good letter if you're going to convince the employer to call you for an interview. Your cover letter serves as a marketing pitch while your resume backs up your testimonials. Use this opportunity to create a good first impression as employers may receive hundreds of resume applications for one job availability.

Who Needs a Cover Letter?

Everyone who sends out a resume does! Even if the cover letter never "came up" in conversation or wasn't mentioned in an advertisement, it's expected that you will write one.






What is the Purpose?

Cover letter along with your resume usually provides all the information which a prospective employer will use to decide whether or not you fit the bill required for the job and later called for an interview. While your ultimate goal is a job offer, the more immediate purpose of your cover letter in some cases may simply be to gain an attentive audience for your resume.



Who is your Audience?

Cover letters should be tailored to each specific company in mind. You should conduct enough research to know the interests, needs, values, and goals of each company, and your letters should reflect that knowledge. The company is not interested in what YOU want, but what VALUE you will bring to the organization. What you convey should be enough to lead an employer (or recruiter) to want to interview you at the earliest.


What should be the Structure?

A Cover Letter should be composed of: An introductory paragraph that " is interest generating " states or implies interest A Market-yourself paragraph that " demonstrates your ability to add value " highlights your key strengths and abilities " A brief summary that briefly describes your relevant education and experience. " A statement that either compels or ensures follow-up action. " A token of appreciation.>


What Suggestions to follow?

The following suggestions are offered when writing a cover letter…

  • No spelling or typing errors: Double check for any typing or spelling errors.
  • Be Open: State your objective without needless fancy elaboration.
  • Be Specific: Lengthy letters tend to be just scanned. Keep your cover letter to one page. Keep it brief if you want your cover letter to be read from start to end.
  • Avoid Using Slang Words or clichés: As your letter would reflect you, you would want to project a professional image and not an informal one.
  • Write it in your own words so that it sounds like you--not like something out of a book: Employers look for originality, knowledge, enthusiasm, focus etc in a candidate.
  • Phrase your letter positively. Worded effectively, you will be able to create a positive impression.
  • Make your cover letter easy on the eyes: It should be easy to scan and have a logical progression. Bunched up text in long paragraphs will frustrate anyone who has to review hundreds of resumes and cover letters a week.
  • Market Yourself: Explain what you can offer the company; not what the company can do for you..
  • Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer: If you are applying for an advertised position, use the requirements in the ad and specifically put them in BOLD type.
  • Customize your cover letter to the job position you are applying for:The skills that you should mention should be appropriate to the job position available.
  • Highlight your best accomplishment. It just might be what the employer is looking for in an applicant-- one who can accomplish a certain job he has in mind.
  • Avoid Being Negative about yourself: You aim to sell yourself with positive citation. Any phrase that might indicate negative fact about yourself will be a point against you.
  • Stress a positive unique quality you have: Among hundred other resumes, the important thing is for you to leave a memorable impression to the employer. A promising attribute which may make you unique relative to the other applicants could improve your chances of reaching the interview stage.
  • Show that you know notable information about the company: This will show that you have interest on their organization. You didn't pick this company out of the phone book.
  • Offer a solution to their problem: Most employers hire people because the employer needs to accomplish a task-not because they want to provide employment opportunities to the public. Your cover letter should be solution-centric; not "I" centered. Keep the "I would like" stuff to a minimum.
  • Don't mention people's name from the company: DON'T MENTION NAMES if you know someone in the company. HR managers take unsolicited resumes more seriously then, when they assume you were referred by one of their employees or customers.
  • Include your contact information:This is written at the last paragraph of your letter. Indicate what time is best available to contact you and that you are looking forward to arranging an interview.
  • Be Concise: The closing should be concise. Let the reader know what you want (an Be application, an interview, an opportunity to call).
  • Sign your cover letter: Remember to sign your cover letter.

Three standard ways to close your cover letter:

  • Active Approach( I will call you!) - Indicate to the employer that you will be following up with a call within a certain period of time (usually 7 days) to arrange a convenient time for an interview. Use tact; otherwise this approach may appear presumptuous.
  • Reserved Approach(You call ME!) - If you aren't comfortable making these cold calls, then, express your desire for the employer to contact you.
  • Out-of-Town Approach(Right Timing your call !) - Mention the fact that you will be in the area during a certain time period and will call to arrange an interview before/after you arrive. You may request a specific time and date for an interview or indicate your availability at any time during a given period. Proof read! Make certain your letter is grammatically correct and without typographical errors - mistakes have a very negative impact on the application process. Last but not the least, don't underestimate the importance of your cover letter. In a recent survey most of the respondents said that when they screen applications, the cover letter is either as important as or more critical than the resume. Your cover letter really does matter.


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