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Writing Cover Letters For Resumes: 3 Tips To Go From Good To Great
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There is plenty of advice for writing cover letters for resumes. But you know the competition for jobs is fierce. How do you write a cover letter that will get noticed and get you a job?

Start by understanding what you are doing when writing cover letters for resumes. No, it’s not some piece of busy work everyone says you have to do. The cover letter is the first impression you will make on the hiring company. It is also your first sales effort. That’s right, sales. You are selling yourself, your skills, your experience and your time to some company.

Now think about who you are selling to. Put yourself in their shoes. Whoever is reading all these cover letters for resumes probably has a big stack of them to get through. Take it from me: it’s not the most exciting task one could attempt. When I was hiring people I found it to be more frustrating than exhilarating.

Tip #1: Make it easy for your reader to know what you want. Mention early on in your letter the specific job you are applying for. Sometimes managers have more than one open position. Don’t make them guess. If they can’t figure out what you want, guess what pile your letter will end up in.

Along these lines, use the keywords from the job posting in your letter. If the add lists “typing” skills, use the word typing. Don’t say you have “keyboarding” skills. Many companies use computers to scan cover letters and resumes for certain key words. So make it easy for the computer or any human reader to see that you have the skills they want.

Tip #2: State specifically why you want to work for that company. There are a few reasons here. Companies are afraid of hiring people who will take just any job and then leave when they find something better. Hiring and training employees is expensive, so if they hire you, they want you to stick around. Also, remember you are selling yourself. As a hiring manager, I read cover letters for resumes to try to figure out if the person had the qualifications for the job, would they work hard, and could they work as part of a team. By doing a little extra research about the company, you demonstrate your willingness to work hard.

But what do you say about the company? You could say you feel you could get behind the company’s mission and vision, and explain why. Or you could mention some of their top selling products and why you have an interest in them. Or do a little background on the company’s senior management. If any of them have written a book or an article, quote them in your letter.

Tip #3: Address your letter to the hiring manager. Do a little research to find out this person’s name. This will do two things for you. First, it is another way to demonstrate that you will work hard. Second, you could write the most amazing and compelling cover letter possible, but it will do you no good if a junior clerk in Human Resources puts it in the reject pile. The hiring tells human resources what he is looking for, but the HR person may not have fully understood. Or the hiring manager might have done a poor job of communicating. Or he may have changed his mind since talking with HR and hasn’t communicated that changed. The bottom line is you don’t want to risk someone who is not the decision maker eliminating you from the process.

Writing cover letters for resumes can be one of your most effective tools in your job search process. Writing great cover letters for resumes that sell you to the potential employer will help you get interviews and job offers.


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