How to Write Resume Cover Letters
The importance of resume cover letters is often underestimated by jobseekers. Will your resume be read, or will it be thrown into the circular file with barely a glance? A well written cover letter can make all the difference.
The most common mistake regarding cover letters (besides plain forgetting to write them!) is using them to duplicate information already in the resume. However, you need a cover letter that expands on and complements your resume.
Imagine that you're the one sitting at a desk with piles of resumes to look at. All of them are printed on decent white paper. They're all covered in skills and objectives.
Lots of them are accompanied by cover letters, some of them very long and rambling. Overwhelming, isn't it? Set yourself apart. Write a cover letter that grasps the attention of the reader and gives them several reasons to turn to the next page.
So where to start? You can always learn by example. There are many example resume cover letters online. There are examples that cover several different jobs in dozens of different formats. You can find them all by using your favorite search engine.
Don't be afraid to mention the name of someone who has both referred you and is well known to the company or interviewer-- provided you have that person's permission, of course. You'll be using the power of networking referrals, which can go a long way in making sure that your resume gets serious consideration.
Next thing you need to do is study the job description. Write references to it and describe how your skills make you suited for the job. The easy thing to do would be to repeat everything that's on your resume, but this is a golden opportunity to take everything a step further. Use the job description to show the reader how your skills will benefit the company.
Above all, picture the interviewer reading the cover letter and asking, "What's in it for me?" The interview is more than likely thinking that exact thought when he or she is reading through a bunch of resume cover letters. If your answer sounds good, you'll get the interview!
Published December 3rd, 2007