by Kevin Brennfleck, NCCC and Kay Marie Brennfleck, NCCC
Career & Life Calling CoachesSM
A cover letter should accompany any resume that you send. The cover letter gives an opportunity to highlight and amplify key information in the resume; to address directly the needs and interests of the employer; and, to suggest the areas in which your skills match the organization's needs.
The cover letter should always be individually created for each employer and printed on paper that is identical, or at least similar, to that of the resume. It should be no more than one page long and business-like in appearance. Whenever feasible, address the letter to a specific person, preferably the one who is likely to make the employment decision.
The cover letter is as important as the resume because it is the first thing that is seen by the employer. An excellent cover letter can help your resume to stand out from others received for the same position. If you feel that your writing skills are weak, or that you don't want to waste a lot of time "reinventing the wheel," you should consider getting a copy of a book that has sample cover/marketing letters that are effective and can be adapted to your situation. One very helpful online website is www.cover-letters.com. This online resource provides letter formats for a wide variety of situations. It also helps you to use phrases and formats that have been proven to get results.
Basic Rules for Good Cover Letters
1. Create each letter individually. (This process is greatly facilitated by having the basic formation a computer that you personalize for each employer.)
2. Address each employer by name and title.
3. Open your letter with a strong sentence that indicates why you should be seriously considered for the position.
4. Devote the body of your letter to brief facts about your experience and accomplishments that will grab the employer's interest and draw attention to your resume.
5. Appeal in your letter to the needs of the person to whom you are writing. Suggest how hiring you will lead to higher production, greater efficiency, reduced waste, better sales, higher profits, etc.-that is, things that will help solve the employer's problems.
6. If at all possible, include some challenging thoughts that will cause the employer to feel that a discussion with you would be worthwhile even if he or she really hadn't been planning to hire anyone right now.
7. Whenever possible (such as in letters to nearby employers), bid directly for an interview and indicate that you will call to arrange a suitable time. Without being arrogant, make them feel that declining your request would be an act of sheer irresponsibility simply because you obviously have so much to offer!
8. Keep your letter short to hold the employer's interest.
9. Finally, get someone to proofread your letters. Avoiding typos and grammatical errors is important in making your cover letter stand out.
Here is a sample format for a cover letter, and an example utilizing that format follows:
City, State Zip
Dear Ms. Employer:
Opening Paragraph: State the reason for your letter (including the job title of the position you are seeking, if possible), and mention how you became aware of the position and/or organization.
Middle Paragraph(s): Refer to the enclosed resume (and/or application form), and refer to any facts within it that you particularly want the employer to notice (items that would be especially good "selling points" for you in regard to the position and organization).
Closing Paragraph: Request an interview appointment. Suggest that you will call soon (specify "Thursday," "next week," or "this week," etc.) to set up an appointment. Be positive in your attitude--expect an appointment!
City, State Zip
Cover Letter Example:
October 15, 2009
Ms. Anne Sanders
Manager, Graphic Arts Department
American Manufacturing Company
1238 S. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Dear Ms. Sanders:
I would like to apply for the graphic artist position that I saw advertised in the classified section of the UCLA student newspaper. I am very interested in the position, as I have strong skills in both design and desktop publishing, and find much satisfaction using my skills in those areas.
I have enclosed my resume, which highlights some of the graphic arts projects I have completed. As examples, I've enclosed copies of the training curriculum brochure and newsletter I produced at Newton Medical Center. My employer estimates that I saved him about $6000 in fees that he would have paid to an outside graphic artist.
I would very much like to set up a time to talk to you about your graphic arts department and the opening for a graphic artist. I will call you on Thursday to see if we can arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. I look forward to talking with you!
591 S. Rigby Lane
Pasadena, CA 91104
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.
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