Buttress Your Resume with a Cover Letter

Importance of the cover letter

Most of us, when preparing a resume, devote a lot of time to making that resume the very best because of its significance to, and representative of us as individuals and potential employees of the company to which the resume is sent. What some job seekers fail to do however, is to send a cover letter along with their resumes; and while the reasons for excluding a cover letter may vary, such exclusion often reduces the chances that your well-formatted, well-written resume will ever get reviewed.

We must understand the importance of having a cover letter for the simple reason that without one, we defeat the purpose of preparing and sending out the resume in the first place. It is a known fact that job seekers who omit a cover letter from their job applications appear unprofessional to potential employers; but those who include a well-written, personalized cover letter allow potential employers to get an insight into who they are, how they communicate and how they present themselves as professionals.

Buttressing your resume

If you are in search of a particular job or position and sending your resume via email, the cover letter can be included in the body of the email or sent in an attachment, if the employer accepts such attached documents (most employers prefer not to receive attached documents), but the important thing to do is make sure a cover letter is sent along with your resume; and even if you are faxing or sending your resume by regular USPS mail, make sure that the cover letter serves as an introduction to the resume.

While cover letters can take various forms, there are a few basic guidelines that should be adhered to when preparing one for yourself. Read on:

Knowing the goal of your cover letter

Know what the goal of your cover letter is, and express it clearly and concisely. Sell yourself in the best possible light; make sure also, that you sound confident and professional in your cover letter. Concentrate on the positives while highlighting those qualifications that make you a perfect candidate for the job; and even if you feel insecure about your qualifications, or think that you may be slightly under-qualified for the job, use your best interpretation of the qualifications.

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Addressing and customizing the cover letter

Address your cover letter to the appropriate person. The biggest mistake some professionals make is not taking the time to address their cover letter to the appropriate person, such as the recruiter or the hiring manager. Take the time to address your cover letter to the appropriate person; if the job description does not include a person as a contact, take queue from the text and address the letter to the team listed as the contact. Using generic lines, such as “To whom it may concern,” is not acceptable on a cover letter.

Customize your cover letter to the position you are applying for. It is very important that your cover letter address why you are the best person for the job you are seeking. This includes indicating the job title in your cover letter. Generic statements, or statements indicating that you are interested in any open position with the company, make you appear unprofessional and unprepared.

A strong close to your cover letter

Answer these two questions: why do you want this particular job? And, what can you do for the company? These two questions must be addressed in the cover letter in order to let your employer know that you are serious about your interests, and that you have considered the opportunity, how it fits with your professional goals, and what you are willing to bring to the table in order to benefit the organization you want to work for.

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Proof your cover letter. Errors and misspellings leave a poor impression on any employer.

Close the cover letter by indicating to your potential employer when you intend to follow up on your application. Do not end the letter with a statement that leaves it up to the employer to call you at their convenience. Let the employer know that you want to follow up, when you will follow up, and how you will do so. This confirms your interest in the position, and your professional etiquette. Note, you must follow up when and how you indicate on the cover letter.