Creating a cover letter and resume helps you get your foot in the door, but it is also important to distinguish yourself from other job applicants.
There are many steps in conducting a successful job search, and in today’s competitive market you need every edge to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Creating a cover letter and resume helps you get your foot in the door, but it is also important to distinguish yourself from other job applicants.
A well-prepared resume may not be enough to convince potential employers that you should be called for an interview. Not including a cover letter with your resume is missing a key opportunity to sell yourself. Good cover letters and resumes may often stand alone to solicit consideration for a position, but when combined, the impact of the two is much greater.
A cover letter should create enough interest in your opening statement or paragraph that the reader feels compelled to continue reading. It should also demonstrate your written communication skills and explain any important experiences and skills that showcase your potential and ability for the position. Brevity and business etiquette are crucial in your letter.
Always address the letter to a specific person. Call the employer to get the correct name and spelling along with the person’s title, address, email address, or fax number.
Remember to write each cover letter specifically for the company and/or position you are seeking. Form letters show that you are trying to do a quick job and not putting forth your best effort. Make the reader aware that you have done your homework and you know something about the organization and how it fits with your skills, strengths, objectives, and interests. Be sure to request an interview.
Always check, check again, and recheck spelling. Your computer spell checker is a good place to start, but is not sufficient in itself. Proofread again to be sure a word “spilled” incorrectly has not slipped by the spell checker.
The real key to getting your foot in the door with a cover letter and resume is to address the specific needs of the organization you are targeting. If you have done your research and can demonstrate your interest and ability to add value to the organization, then you have a good chance of securing a face-to-face meeting with the appropriate hiring managers.
A typical employer will spend approximately 15 seconds reviewing your resume. That is not much time to command someone’s attention. You need to design your resume so that employers can quickly see what you have to offer.
A good resume presents your past achievements as well as the assets and capabilities that qualify you for the new job. As you get better at communicating your qualifications, you will approach the job of writing your resume with confidence.
Most importantly, resumes should be a concise summary of your education, employment history, and experience relevant to the specific position you are seeking. The goal is a document that can be skimmed quickly so that important information stands out and can easily be found again by the reader.
Knowing how to create a strong cover letter, a content-rich resume and a professional portfolio will be indispensable tools throughout your career.