Your professional qualifications and experience may be impeccable, but if you don't know how to sell yourself, you may be overlooked by prospective employers. That is where the cover letter comes in. Writing a good cover letter is a critical step toward employment.
In the age of the Internet, anyone can create an immaculate resume. There are countless templates online, and all you need to do is plug in your relevant information and send it along. Although the importance of a good resume should not be diminished, it should also not be used as the only source of information about you.
Employers ask for cover letters because they want to see who you are and not just what you have accomplished. The cover letter is your chance to show off your personality and also to sell yourself. Think of your resume as a list of ingredients and your cover letter as the description of the finished meal. Both are necessary to convince someone that your product (you) is the right choice for them.
A cover letter gives you the opportunity to make it known that you are familiar with the company and explain how you can benefit the organization. When applying for a job as a chef at your favorite restaurant, for example, you could mention a particular dish that inspired you to attend culinary school where you graduated at the top of your class. Mentioning specific accomplishments shows that you are interested in the actual company – not just the job.
Part of the hiring process is evaluating whether a particular candidate is a good fit. That does not just mean just checking a resume to see if the candidate has the appropriate experience. A cover letter differentiates each person. That is why it is so important to let your personality come through while still remaining professional. Many hiring managers go through hundreds of cover letters every day trying to find that elusive candidate who seems like they would be a pleasure to work with .
Your cover letter is what turns you from a number into a human being. Summing up your aspirations, objectives and accomplishments can be a daunting task, but it makes a difference. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers are people too, and a well-written, honest cover letter is your chance to connect with them.
The hiring process is difficult on both ends, and a cover letter makes it easy for employers to distinguish serious applicants from those who are just copying and pasting a template, and sending it to every company they can find. It is easy to tell the difference between a form letter, and a personalized cover letter.
Employers ask for cover letters because they want to know more about you. Your resume paints a very simple, black-and-white picture, but your cover letter fills in those lines with color. You have the opportunity to show your competence, your motivation and your desire to work for a particular organization. Employers want to know that you are willing to go the extra mile for the job, and the cover letter can prove that.
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