Business Letters : Cover Letter

Cover Letter presents your intentions, qualifications and availability to a prospective employer in a succinct and appealing format. It is your first chance to make a great impression. A personalized Letter indicates that you are serious about your job search. Your resume can give the nitty-gritty of the dates, places of employment and education. But, your Letter must entice the reader to take the extra few minutes to consider you when faced with hundreds of candidates for any one job opening.

1. Do you really need a Cover Letter?

You bet! Just as you would never show up unannounced at a prospective employer’s door, your resume should never just appear solo on a decision maker’s desk. Your Cover Letter is your first opportunity to introduce your self, present your qualifications and show the search committee that you are potential candidate for the advertised position.

2. Personalize it to the Company.

Anyone can produce a canned Cover Letter and hope for the best. Instead take a few minutes to personalize your letter by showing that you are really serious about working for the company you are contacting. State the reason for which you are interested in working for the company. Mention a department or the new project the company is involved in or the acquisition that the company has made. Show that you have done your homework. Address the Cover Letter to a specific individual whenever possible.

3. Why are you sending your resume and cover letter?

Cover Letter should be clear and to the point. Include the specific job title, two to three reasons why your experience makes you a good fit and a brief outline of career highlights.

4. Highlight your strength.

You may be great person and never call in sick, but prospective employer really wants to know why they should consider for this position. Braga titles! Give few facts. You may list relevant skills. You can state accomplishments on your present or your most recent jobs. This list will be impressive. If you had increased overseas sales by 50 %, mention it. If you had negotiated new financial leases or loan for your present company, mention it. If you had introduced any training program which reduced the staff turnover, mention it.

All these accomplishments like these mentioned above will boost your image about you among the interview panel members.

5. State your intentions and qualifications right up front.

If you expect senior personnel manager or recruiter to wade through a mish-mash of information on your Letter before understanding why you are sending your resume, chances are it will never happen.

6. What does make you different?

Emphasize your skills, talents and experience to show how you would be valuable addition to the team. If you have relevant volunteer or professional experience, include it briefly. Example: An accountant who serves as volunteer treasurer for a non-profit community health organization (or) an international sales representative who has lived in Europe and Asia speaks several languages.

7. No negative information.

Never include personality conflicts with previous employers, pending litigation suits or sarcastic remarks. If you are bad mouthing your present place of employment, interviewers may fear a repeat performance if they hire you.

8. When should you include salary/relocation information?

The rule of thumb is to always include salary requirements and salary history in the Letter if the prospective employer requests it. For example: My salary requirement is $ 60,000-$70,000 (Negotiable). Or my present salary is $55,000 at XYZ Corporation. To eliminate this information form the Cover Letter may justify your resume getting tossed out. Never include salary and relocation information on your resume, only address this information in your Cover Letter.

9. Action steps to take

Take a proactive approach. State the fact that you are available for a personal interview. Give your home and work phone numbers or the mobile number will be the best. Give your email address also. And state when you can be reached. Note that you will follow up by phone to provide any additional required information.

10. Be direct

A professionally written Cover Letter and resume can open the doors to your next position on the corporate ladder as well as a new career in a different field.

A clean, error free presentation combined with strong phrasing and solid facts in your Cover Letter will encourage the reader to review the attached resume and call you in for an interview.

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