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Cover Letter Tips

Posted on: January 22, 2010

A cover letter is the prelude to your resumé. It can be a potential employer’s first impression of you, and in this job market, that first impression better be a good one. Pat Kendall has created a Website fully dedicated to job searching. She’s included job search support, Web resume information, sample resumes and much more. She also included a section with cover letter tips. According to Kendall, the cover letter “adds a personal touch to your application and shows employers that you are a serious, professional candidate.” Kendall offers four tips:

  • “Customize to fit”: make sure that your cover letter fits the requirements of the employer.
  • “Meet the employer’s needs”: clearly describe what you can do to meet the employer’s needs. Don’t just assume that they will know what you mean; be very direct.
  • “Actively sell yourself”: tell the employer what you have to offer and why they should hire you.
  • “Keep it simple”: keep it to one page, use a basic format, and avoid pretentious words or phrases.

All of this information and much more can be found on Advanced Resume Concepts.

Is a cover letter always necessary? Not according to Accent Resume Writing. The author of this Website believes that “if you are not shaking hands with the hiring decision maker and introducing yourself, then you  need a cover letter to introduce you. If you are shaking hands with the hiring manager, you are introducing yourself verbally and requesting an interview. In this case, hand them your resume without a  cover letter.” I think this is good advice because a cover letter is pretty much just a brief overview of who you are. It’d probably be awkward to sit across from a potential employer while he/she, essentially, reads your 3-5 paragraph autobiography.

What if you’re applying for a job online? How about in an e-mail? Is a cover letter necessary, and if so, then how do you submit it? The following YouTube video posted by collegegrad.com answers these questions and also offers a few other cover letter tips in this Job Search Minute.

I hope this information is helpful. I certainly learned some new things; especially since I have very little experience in the cover letter department. Talk to you soon!

– Allison

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12 Responses to "Cover Letter Tips"

Hey Allison! I loved reading your blog. I too find it important and helpful when creating a cover letter. I like the example you described about the cover letter essentially being the handshake to introduce yourself. If you think about it, some employers are doing interviews online and through Skype now. If you don’t have the opportunity to shake their hand in the traditional setting, then having a cover letter gives something a little more personal they will remember. Like your blog explains, I also found that it is important to keep your cover letter short and direct. No one wants to get bored reading a 5 page letter 🙂 Besides who has time to read that much for just one individual! Thanks for the tidbits, it was fun to read!

Stephanie,

Great video! And I thought is was very interesting that sometimes the cover letter was not needed.

[…] January 27, 2010 at 11:16 PM (Blog Comments, PRCA 3711) Allison Allmond […]

Your blog is really well written and very informative. Love the video.. Good job!.

[…] scost1 January 31, 2010 at 7:09 pm […]

Hey Allison! I really enjoyed reading your advice about cover letters. You described it perfectly when you said, “A cover letter is the prelude to your resume.” It truly is and that is why it is so important to have a strong cover letter. If your cover letter is sloppy and contains a lot of mistakes, most employers will not even look at your resume. Think of your cover letter as a pitch. How would you pitch yourself to a potential employer? They want to know what you can do for them. What makes you a better candidate for the job or interview? It is important to address all of these questions when you are writing your cover letter.

Your blog on cover letters was well written. It was formatted well and filled with all kind of helpful pieces of information. I like how you talk about a cover letter being a way of introducing yourself. That is very true because when you send off your resume, they don’t get to see you. That is why your cover letter should let them get a feel of what your about. The video you attached was helpful as well. Overall this is a good blog post.

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