Cover Letters

Cover letters, when thoroughly researched and effectively written, can be a critical part of your marketing tool. They should:

  • Be tailored and customized to each individual opportunity
  • Set you apart from your competition
  • Encourage face-to-face meetings to open otherwise closed doors

It is important that the recipient’s needs be considered when writing the cover letter.

Cover letters should always be clear, concise, and highlight your particular skill. When composing cover letters, try to be as unique as possible without losing any professionalism. It is a tool that you should use to “hook” a reader into wanting to find out more about you, your experience and the potential contribution you can make.

Before jumping into designing a cover letter, let’s review some myths that exist about cover letters.

Myth:  “Nobody reads cover letters”

  • Potential employers can learn a lot about an individual’s communication and organizational skills, as well as the level of commitment the person is dedicating to the job at hand, namely finding the right job! Why risk sending a poor letter to someone who values this form of marketing?
  • Every prospective employer is reading a cover letter with one critical question in mind, namely what is in it for me? When you answer that question, clearly and obviously, the hook is planted and your resume will reel in the catch!

Myth:  “Cover letters only repeat what is in the resume”

  • Only if you write them that way!! If you take some extra time to research your target, you will know exactly how to target your letter and know which of your personal and technical skills to emphasize. An effective cover letter will complement and add value to your resume by adding information that relates to the specific needs of your reader.

Myth:  Your reader will forget one typographical error

  • Wrong! The surest way to get yourself ejected from the selection process is to send a letter that is anything less than perfect! Consider the individual who dashed off a letter in a hurry introducing him- or herself as a “Senior Manager, killed in a strategic planning project”, instead of being “skilled” in strategic planning.

Myth:  Flooding the market with cover letter will ensure success….fast!

  • Not necessarily! Broadcast letters have worked in certain instances, but not in all. They are however, typically treated as second class mail. A letter tailored to the specific needs of your reader is much more effective.
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