The Cover Letter The purpose of the cover letter is to complement your resume to the position for which you are applying. It will enable you to add more information about yourself and speak about any additional qualifications or skill sets you may possess that may not be built in to your resume. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading your cover letter. Chances are that your cover letter is one out of many to be received for the position advertised. In fact, there could be 100 or more cover letters and resumes to be screened. A cover letter should almost always be used when applying for a job. The only exception is if you are planning on hand-delivering your resume to the hiring manager and even then a cover letter would serve its purpose. If you are being requested to send your resume via e:mail as an attachment, you should still send a cover letter as well. Again, the purpose of doing so is to match your interest in the position advertised. This will help sell you to the potential employer. Below is a list of errors to avoid when sending a resume to a potential employer: 1) Poor written material. Remember first impressions are lasting and if you want your cover letter to make it to the second “cut,” pay attention to punctuation, grammar, margins and font. Make sure that your sentences are clear and precise and that you are saying what you intend on saying. Having literally reviewed thousands of cover letters over the years, if I see sloppy cover letters, I will not even bother looking at the resume. 2) Listing unrelated skills and qualifications is probably one of the most common mistakes individuals make. Think about it, the person reading your cover letter is really only interested in what skill sets you may possess that relate directly to the job for which you are applying. This mistake is very common today as individuals move between jobs and careers much more frequently than our parents did. 3) Individuals will also often forget to enter their contact information on the cover letter and will even at times make errors in their address or enter a telephone number in which they can hardly be reached at. Do you think the hiring manager is going to take the time to phone you two or three times? I think not. 4) Use a consistent format between both your cover letter and your resume. Preferably, use a business format when writing your cover letter. Use the same font and margins to ensure that your cover letter matches those used within your resume. Once you have completed your cover letter ask a friend or parent to review the letter for content and consistency. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a mistake and it could be the very thing that separates you from getting the job.
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