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Don’t Discount the Importance of the Cover Letter

May 9th, 2010

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It is post-graduation and you are on the prowl to finally put your hard-earned knowledge and skills to good use and launch your career. The problem is, it seems that no matter how many impeccably typed resumes you send out, you never seem to get invited back for a personal interview. Fret not because the problem may not be with you as a job candidate, but with your cover letter (or lack of one), which fortunately is an easy issue to remedy.

Hiring managers go through many job applications in any given day, especially if they have posted a job listing in a public forum like the classified section of the newspaper or on Craigslist. To go through all of the resumes that pour in can be tedious and monotonous. The truth is, many of the applications that hiring managers receive are equally qualified. To narrow down the field from these practically homogenous candidates, hiring managers refer to one thing when they first get a new application in their hands: the cover letter.

A good cover letter acts as a supplement to the resume. It is a means of introduction as well as a way for applicants to elaborate on their qualifications for the position. A well-written cover letter will be short, to the point, and show hiring managers that you are educated, focused, and genuinely interested in the job. It will invite the manager to look at your resume and consider bringing you in for a personal interview. On the contrary, a poorly written cover letter will have the opposite effect. It will make the hiring manager think that you are unintelligent and careless, inviting the manager to toss your entire application into the garbage before even looking over your resume. All the credentials in the world will mean nothing if you cannot pen a good cover letter.

There is not much to writing a good cover letter. The key is to elaborate on a few key things about your education or work experience that makes you a great candidate for the position. Explain why you would like to work for the company and how you could be beneficial to the business. After all, hiring managers are looking for qualified individuals who will profit the company, so simply stating how you can do so will help your case. Finally, one of the most important things to remember to ensure cover letter success is to proof read your letter before sending it in with your application. There is nothing more off-putting than a cover letter rife with spelling and grammatical errors, so double-check it!

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