Writing Resume Cover Letters Tips

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How to open the first paragraph

You don't need to say much about yourself. It's better to say something you know about that employer and what there is about them that interests you.

Your sales pitch starts in the second paragraph.

Should I always send a cover letter?

Cover Letter Necessity

You should always send a cover letter with your resume — regardless of whether the employer requests one.

Not only is it proper business etiquette to provide one, but it affords you another opportunity to sell yourself.

Additionally, some employers won't ask for a cover letter but will immediately disqualify anyone who doesn't bother to submit one. You don't want to be one of those people, do you? Take your time when writing your resume cover letter, you'll be glad you did!

What is the purpose of a resume cover letter?

Cover Letter Tailoring

The main purpose of the resume cover letter is to tailor your application to a specific job and to communicate a brief glimpse of who you are to a potential employer.

A resume acts as a general advertisement and the cover letter explains why your skills and experience are applicable to the specific job. The cover letter also gives you an opportunity to show your personality, so use it.

What should be in the body of the cover letter?

Cover Letter Body

The body of your employment cover letter should contain your sales pitch. Use several sentences to cite the specific skills and accomplishments that make you the ideal candidate for the open position.

Elaborate by using brief examples to explain why your unique skills make you the right person for the job. Don't painstakingly list all your wonderful qualities; just stick to the qualities that are relevant to the open position. You'll be able to highlight any additional qualities you have in the interview.

Should my cover letter be formal or informal?

Resume Cover Letter Formality

Your resume cover letter should have aspects that are both formal and informal. First and foremost, a resume cover letter is a formal document that serves as an important introduction between you and your prospective employer.

You should remember that it is also an opportunity to reveal your personality, an important aspect of finding a position that is the right fit. A touch of personality will help to set your resume cover letter apart from the competition. Take a look at sample resume cover letters to get a sense of what is acceptable.

How do I write a good resume cover letter?

Resume Cover Letters

Now that you have taken the time to craft a quality, well organized resume and you have found the jobs to which you want to apply, you face the challenge of the resume cover letter. How can you make yourself stand out without going to far? How can you take a template and customize it to make the process more efficient?

Make the process less painful by creating a system and finding some great samples to spark your creativity just by tapping into all available resources.

What should be in the introduction of a cover letter?

Cover Letter Introduction

In the standard cover letter format, the introduction should clearly state the position for which you are applying.

This should not only be the focus of the opening paragraph, but it should also be the focus of the opening sentence. One sentence should suffice for the opening paragraph, but you may want to use an additional sentence to denote the name of a personal contact within the organization who recommended the job to you or to briefly mention your qualifications for the job.

As always, focus on attention to detail. By ensuring the corectness of your resume and cover letter, you will advance past a great number of candidates who were not so diligent.

Should I create a standard cover letter that can be used for multiple employers?

Cover Letter Template

It's tempting to use a stock cover letter that you can send to multiple employers by simply making slight modifications.

However, in the end this wastes time, not saves time. Employers are looking for originality, not banality, in cover letters for resumes. Be wary of using gimmicks or being jokey in your cover letter, but take the time to tailor each cover letter carefully.

Employers will not be anxious to consider your application if you're not willing to put a little effort into your cover letter.

Is it okay to send a cover letter to an anonymous contact?

Cover Letter Direction

If at all possible, you should direct your cover letter to a specific individual. Otherwise, your resume is more likely to get lost in the shuffle.

Conduct a little research if a contact name is not overtly supplied. Make sure you spell the name correctly, and use their title if you can. Attention to detail will make you stand out from the crowd.

Should I focus on my needs or the employer needs in a cover letter?

Cover Letter Focus

You should focus on the employer's needs, not your needs, when writing resume cover letters. The employer is hiring you; you're not hiring the employer.

Target the employer's needs and focus on specific skills and qualities that will fulfill those needs. Highlight specific instances, skills and tools that you bring to the table to solve their problems.

Should I always send a cover letter?

Cover Letter Length

Your cover letter shouldn't be a novel. Just like a resume, a cover letter is read quickly. This is also why formatting is an important aspect of both your resume and your cover letter. You want them to be readable and scanable.

If your cover letter is too long, you run the risk of losing the reader's attention. On the other hand, you shouldn't take brevity to the extreme. Your cover letter should be short, but it should also say something.

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Carma Spence-Pothitt