2014-08-29 by admin
A cover letter is perhaps the most important part of a resume. Employers will often scan it in lieu of actually reading through the whole resume, especially when there are piles of resumes to read. If it is well-written and relevant to the employer’s interests, it can become a foot in the door to a desired job. Though it follows a standardized format, some people may require help writing one. Knowing how to properly write a cover letter is not something that someone new to the job market can afford to “wing.” In this article are tips and cover letter help information that will aid any novice job-seeker in getting a prospective employer’s attention.
First of all, it is essential to know the general outline and format of a cover letter. A cover letter contains a header, a body, an introduction, and a closing statement. The header, also called a signature block, goes at the top of the page. It contains the applicant’s name, address, contact information, the date the resume was sent, and ends with a salutation. Most business letters, which cover letters fall under, also state what the letter is regarding (e. G., “RE: Application For Editorial Position”) and how and where it was originally sent (e. G. “Via U. S. Postal Service to 1234 Fake Street.) While the header is fairly straightforward, mistakes are easy to make and will almost certainly cause the resume to be passed over. The assumption of most employers is that if an applicant cannot be bothered to check for simple errors in a resume, they are not serious about the job. Job-seekers should make sure to carefully check and re-check their headers for incorrect formatting.
The introduction comes after the header and explains why the resume is being sent. It also is there to grab the employer’s attention, summarizing for them who the applicant is, what they want, and why they should be considered. Specificity is important; employers want to know exactly which position applicants are interested in, what they want from the job, and why. While tact is essential, vagueness is never appreciated in business relations. An introduction also explains how the applicant came to learn of the position they are applying for, and contains basic personal information.
After the introduction comes the body of the cover letter. The body takes information from the main part of the resume and summarizes it, typically highlighting the most relevant and interesting points. It explains to the employer why the applicant is seeking the job and why they would be a valuable employee if hired. Work experience, qualifications, and skills are also mentioned. A good cover letter body demonstrates the applicant’s interest in and knowledge of the desired position, and tries to relate the applicant’s experience with that of their employer and their company.
The closing statement comes last. It should tell the employer that the applicant wishes to interview or talk with them, and indicates when and how the applicant wishes to make follow-up contact. It is important for the applicant to not only express interest in hearing from the employer, but to actually plan for and initiate contact at a later date. This not only tells the employer that the applicant is serious about their inquiry, but also provides for an opportunity to impress upon the employer’s memory. Applicants whose actual voice or face are encountered by their prospective employer are likely to be considered first for a position, due to the simple psychology of familiarity. The closing statement should then thank the employer for their time and consideration and be signed.
Besides careful attention to format, spelling, and grammar, it is important in any cover letter to give off the correct attitude. A cover letter is effectively a replacement for a face-to-face encounter or walk-in, and the same rules apply, though in a different way. Job-seekers must be able to convey their personality and enthusiasm in writing, as well as demonstrate their motivation and communication skills. Employers look for highly motivated, charming, and well-spoken individuals, regardless of their qualifications.
Appearing charming and enthusiastic in a cover letter is a matter of balance and tact. An applicant wants to appear motivated yet not over-eager, and personable without being obsequious. Flattery should be avoided, as should overstating one’s qualifications or attempting to relate to an employer in an overly personal way. The best approach for the applicant to take is to simply be honest and explain to the employer their being hired would be to the mutual advantage of everyone.
Those who require cover letter help would do well to remember that a cover letter is a business letter, and thus an invitation to discussion of mutual interest. Like any business inquiry, both parties need to be made aware of their mutual advantage in forming a partnership. This is the key to striking a chord with an employer. An applicant who appears both interested in and knowledgeable about the desired job looks like a potential work colleague. A well-written cover letter can convey this sense of potential partnership and guarantee an applicant the job they are looking for.
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