A cover letter gives you the chance to explain pertinent skills to an employer. Instead of summarizing your resume, showcase a few of your best attributes you bring to the table.
Your correspondence is a conversation with your employer. Tell the hiring manager about two or three of the most important skills listed in the job description and how you embody those skills. For example, if an employer needs someone with a "strong sales background," relate how you "led a sales team responsible for 10 percent quarter-on-quarter growth for three straight years." This statement turns a soft skill into a concrete result, which is gold to an employer in a job search.
Companies want to see up to four types of skills in a cover letter, including basic skills, people skills, thinking skills and personal qualities. The cover letter itself shows your knowledge of these facets of your professional life. For instance, a cover letter free of grammatical errors means you communicate effectively, which is a basic skill. Relating a good story to another person shows you have people skills and personal qualities. Knowing how to put together a cover letter relates your thinking skills to a potential employer.
Highlight transferable skills to an employer. A resume shows an employer your entire professional experience. A cover letter with a few sentences of transferable skills explains to a hiring manager you have what it takes to do the job. Transferable skills refers to something you learned from a previous experience that transfers to a future job or task. Talking about two or three transferable skills you learned from previous employers means you understand the nuts and bolts of the job.
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