Resume Cover Letters – Who Needs Them?

Answer: Anyone who sends out resumes needs resume cover letters! Even though the issue of a covering letter was not mentioned in conversation, or it wasn’t specified in the ad.

It will be considered a sign of laziness or apathy, to send a resume letter that is not customized to the specific organization you are applying to.

But doesn’t it add more anxiety to the already stressful process of looking for a job? Of course it does! But the upside is, your personalized letters give you an opportunity to highlight the things you can contribute to the particular organization in a way your resume cannot. The cover letter is your ‘Sales Page,’ so to speak. YOU are the ‘product you’re selling.’

Many employers are reporting dozens, even hundreds of applicants for every single job opening. With current 10%+ unemployment rates, and relatively few available jobs, there is a tremendous amount of competition out there for every opening. And this just as true with a small, local 3 or 4 person office as it is with huge multi-national corporations.

When the hiring person is almost literally drowning in applications, they do not have time to read every word of every resume. This is where your resume letters come in. Oftentimes, the hiring person scans the cover letter first. If nothing in that letter catches their attention, chances are the actual resume will never get read. So your perfect, beautiful, well thought out and well-written resume ends up in the trash, having never even been looked at.

The main purpose of resume cover letters is to answer the employer’s question: “What can this applicant do for our business?” It is hard to directly answer this question in the resume, which is a formal listing of jobs, duties, experience, training and accomplishments. Your properly crafted cover letter can answer that question in a very straightforward manner.

You should create a new cover letter with every resume you send out, customized to the particular position and company you are applying to. A basic, generic letter will not get you interviews. At all costs, avoid the “blah, blah, blah…please find my resume attached,” format. Employers are looking for knowledge, excitement and focus. If you do not communicate those qualities in your letters, your odds of getting called for an interview fall somewhere between zilch and zero!

A few tips on other issues that can make or break your resume letters, include:

Misspellings or typos: Ask at least a couple of people to review your letter before you send it, watching carefully for mistakes and grammatical flow. (Does it sound right when read out loud?)

Improperly Addressed: Whenever possible the letter should be addressed to a specific individual. If no name is given in the ad, try networking or research to try to find out the name. If that is impossible, just start the letter without a “Dear so-and-so.”

Writing as though you don’t have a clue who they are or what they’re about: If you don’t already know these things, do some research before writing the letter. Visit their website, if they have one. If not, ask around. See if somebody knows somebody that works there, which can give you a heads up.

Well-written resume cover letters can give you a great edge over all those other applicants!

Now go to Winning Resume Coverletters for more great information about writing eye-catching, Interview Getting, cover letters! Give yourself the competitive edge in your job search!

Author: Kathi Harris

Resume Do Nots: Avoid Resume Mistakes To Get More Interviews

mistakesHere are some tips and considerations to avoid making resume mistakes that can cost you.

1. Dont obsess about the length of your resume, focus on the content but do keep in mind that most people will get by with a 2 page resume. A third page should really only be used when absolutely necessary.

2. Dont include personal information in your resume such as age, hobbies or things of that nature. The goal of your resume is to get an interview not a date. Keep it professional.

3. Dont include any references to salary your current salary or desired salary in your resume.

4. Dont use personal pronouns such as I or Me or My in your resume.

5. Dont simultaneously email your resume to multiple recruiters or hiring managers in the same email. Send emails to individual contacts, one at a time, addressed to the specific person you are sending it to.

6. Dont forget that you no longer work for a company. If you have left the company, dont make it look on your resume like you are still working for the company. Include accurate start and end dates for each job you have held.

7. Dont embellish (ie. lie) on your resume if youre not prepared to have to explain yourself when youre caught.

8. Dont ask a recruiter to submit your resume for a job that youve already applied to yourself or through another recruiter.

9. Similarly, dont keep sending your resume to the same company over and over again. Observe their rules: if they say that they keep resumes on file for 6 months, then believe them. You dont need to send your resume every 2 weeks.

10. Dont apply for jobs you have no chance getting. There is a difference between submitting your resume to a company for consideration should a relevant job arise, and submitting your resume for a specific advertised job that you are not suited for. Learn to tell the difference otherwise hiring managers will be hitting delete the moment your emails arrive.

11. Dont list your references on your resume. They can be provided to the employer when the time comes. Plus, if you are using recruiters, they will most likely make a note of your references and contact them if they have a job that might suit them.

12. Dont send additional materials when submitting your resume for a job. If you need to supply educational transcripts or other materials, you can supply them when asked.

Author: Carl Mueller
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