Cover Letter tips

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I have a number of cover letter tips to share today. The first one I learned from our Western Technical College students. Copy and paste your resume heading to the top of your cover letter! It makes your cover letter and resume look uniform and consistent.  You can even choose to copy and paste it to the top of your reference page. Yes, reference page. To those of you that list your references on your resume, this is not done anymore. To do an efficient job search, you need three main documents: The cover letter, the resume and your reference page.

A cover letter is your chance to give the employer a first impression about you as a person. Your resume must be a professional and to the point document, listing your skills and abilities. A cover letter can reflect you and your personality. To those of you that only submit a resume and skip the cover letter?  You are shorting yourself.

A cover letter is made of three main sections. The first paragraph is to be introductory in nature but also be eye-catching to the person who is reviewing your materials. That first paragraph should include the position you are applying for. One way to be eye-catching would be to spend 10-15 minutes reviewing the companies website….look for things that appeal to you and comment on those things in that first paragraph. You would in essence be answering the question: ” What appeals to you about working for this employer?”

The last paragraph in a cover letter is closure. You want to state what you expect to see happening. “I look forward to hearing from you.” Or, “Should you care to discuss my qualifications further, I can be reached at:  ______”

The middle paragraphs (1-3) should be your sales pitch. When you are deciding what you want to say that “sells” you to the position consider this:  Employers are examining candidates in three areas for the most part: Work Experience, Education and Strengths. What can you tell them about yourself in those three areas that sells you to the position opening?  If it helps you to print out the position opening and highlight the skills and abilities that they are looking for, by all means do that.

Don’t forget to read your letter out loud when you are done.  You can catch some problem sentences in this way. Make sure you sound professional. Watch for misspellings and make sure your spacing is business letter format spacing.

Happy Cover Letter writing!

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