The cover letter of your resume needs to give recruiters an idea of who you are, what qualifications you have and why you would be perfect for the job in just a few short paragraphs. According to "Great on the Job" author Jodi Glickman, sending a resume without a cover letter is just as bad as sending one riddled with grammatical mistakes.
One important piece of information to include in your cover letter is an explanation of how you learned about the position. For instance, you might mention that you read an advertisement in the newspaper or found the company online. This information is most commonly given in the introductory paragraph along with your personal information and the position you are seeking. If you have a mutual contact who let you know about the opening, this is a great place to mention this as it catches the recruiter's attention while adding some credibility to your resume.
The next piece of information to include in your cover letter is your unique set of accomplishments, skills and qualifications in the form of a sales pitch. After your introduction, you want to "sell" yourself to the recruiter or hiring manager by explaining why you are an appropriate fit for the position and the company. Keep in mind that your cover letter is not a summary of your resume, so try to weave your skills and experiences into a succinct paragraph rather than simply listing them. Do your best to match the tone and values of the organization to set yourself apart as a natural fit. One tried-and-true resume tip for this part of your cover letter is to use strong, action-centered keywords such as created, generated, taught, developed, designed and planned. This instantly conveys your qualifications while keeping your dialog interesting.
Finally, be sure to include a reference to the next step in the hiring process. You might express interest in an interview, explain how the recruiter can contact you or indicate a willingness to submit additional materials, such as a portfolio. After this explain that you will follow up with a phone call at a specified date and time. This call to action conveys to potential employers that you are motivated, interested and proactive. Another important resume tip is to sign your cover letter after the conclusion, adding your personal touch while keeping it professional.
Although the information you place in your cover letter is important, Forbes writer Susan Adams emphasizes that short, succinct cover letters are your best bet for overcoming busy recruiters' short attention spans. Proofread both your cover letter and your resume several times to make sure they are error-free, and submit your resume when you are confident that it accurately represents who you are as an individual and a potential employee.
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