Are Cover Letters Important?
Yes. While some may argue that a cover letter is an “extra step”, I say it is an expected step when sending out your résumé. Outside of the fact that omitting the cover letter can be perceived as being lazy, we exist in a very competitive job-market, and a well-written cover letter is a tool that can help to position you ahead of the competition.
Covers letter are intended to spark the interest of the reader and to compel the reader to take action steps based on what they have read. Your cover letter is your “call to action”. This is the tool that asks for an interview.
Are there any specific “rules” for how to write a cover letter? The only absolute rule is that you must have one. Cover letters do not have a set format or style; they can be creative or conservative, depending on where you are sending your materials. They will change to best address each particular opportunity.
Below are a few tips for crafting a DASHING document:
* Define who you are right from the start. Your reader will not want to go “digging” to figure it out.
* Attract the reader with something that is visually appealing. If your cover letter looks like a template or it looks like it was typed out on a typewriter, then you will not stand out amongst the competition.
* Showcase your skills, qualification, and experiences that have earned you recognition.
* Highlight career achievements that are relevant to the position.
* Illustrate that you have done your homework about the company and explain the value that you could add.
* Note any changes that need to be made; spelling errors, grammatical issues, etc. Make sure your document is error free.
* Get it out! Your cover letter and your résumé are only going to work well for you if you get busy and get them seen.
Candidates who cannot be bothered to put together an effective resume cover letter do not demand the same consideration as the candidate who takes the time to put his/her best foot forward. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-constructed cover letter. It can be the difference between receiving a call for an interview, or not.
Michelle A. Riklan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Expert.
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