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When you are looking for a job there are three opportunities that you have to get yourself noticed: the moment you drop off your resume, your cover letter, and your resume itself. Many people focus quite heavily on perfecting their resume or interview skills, yet their cover letters are unprofessional and rushed. Care to guess the result?

Your cover letter is as important as your resume, so taking the time to ensure that is a high-quality example is just as important as focusing that time on your resume. Fortunately, writing a high-quality cover letter is not a hard task- all it takes is a bit of time, some research, and basic writing skills.

  • Address the cover letter accordingly. If your resume is going to be read by someone in the resources department, address your cover letter so that it gets their attention. Using the resources department as an example, something to the effect of:
    Attention Resources Management;or

    To the person responsible for new-hires;

    Get their attention and you have already won half the battle.

  • Personalize your cover letter. Most cover letters are quite generic (“I would like this job because I am awesome, blah, blah, blah”). Make your cover letter really stand out by taking some time to personalize for each company you are applying to.I would love the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities at ABC Accounting- my ability to crunch numbers and balance pocketbooks is second to none, and I am excellent at explaining the accounting process step by steps so that my clients understand me and my prices.

    The person reading that letter knows that you took the time to research the company, the position, and the responsibilities. Your chances of getting an interview just skyrocketed.

  • Show some personality. Show them an idea of who you are as a person; just make sure that you keep it professional. If you can get the person reading your cover letter to crack a smile you’re set. During my hunt for employment I have come to realize just how competitive the workplace really is. For this reason I have decided that I shall wear a good tie every day, and that I will strive for performance excellence at whatever position I wind up at. I am a valuable asset, and I recognize that the company that employs me is a valuable part of my life as well.Let’s discuss our mutual value over an in-person meeting.

    Cheeky, but not too cheeky. It shows confidence, capability, and a bit of humor at the same time.

With a bit of work to your cover letter you may find that the number of interviews that you get may double or even triple. Don’t be surprised – it’s a full 33% of the application process.

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3 Comments »

Comment by RobMalon
2007-07-30 06:02:38

Based on my experience, having a cover letter and a portfolio before the interview increased my interview rate by more then 50%…It also depends on what your protfolio/letter looks like too. However definatly a huge help!

 
Comment by College Study Tips
2007-08-03 15:25:55

I think your tip on “Show some personality” is a good one, and often overlooked by applicants.

Doing this has got me several interviews in the past….

 
Comment by Angie
2007-08-12 17:59:07

Absolutely personalize EACH letter you send out. I have so many friends who ask me to write them a cover letter. I ask them to which company and they come back with “just a cover” letter. They intend to use the SAME letter for each prospective employer. What a mistake, in my opinion.

 
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