Important Things to Include on the Cover Letter

Nancy Anderson
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Some business executives feel a cover letter represents a more important aspect of a job search since recruiters and hiring managers read that document before glancing at someone's resume. If your personal intro does not hook someone to read further, the quality of your resume does not matter.

A cover letter shows a personal side to your job-search story. Include several key elements as you craft your correspondence to ensure human resources decides you are worth a second look. Weave portions of your skills, the job description and your dedication as you show — rather than tell — your future employer how you fit into the company puzzle.

Mention the job for which you apply, and include how you found the job posting in the first place. Recruiters have many jobs going at once, so it is beneficial to inform them that your documents match a particular position.

Expand your accomplishments listed on your resume. A cover letter marks the perfect way to explain how and why sales at Acme Brick rose 10 percent every consecutive quarter while you were a member of the top sales team at that company. Display why your passion for selling bricks led to better revenue and profits beyond just raw numbers. Put your personality behind the statistics.

Use specific keywords from the job description. In order to save staff time and money, computer programs digest your cover letter and resume before human eyes even see these documents. Once your paperwork passes the computer portion of the process, human resource managers look at your letter and decide whether or not your skill set matches the job posting.

Open with a referral, especially if you discovered the job in that way. Mentioning a networked connection right away in your cover letter brings legitimacy and a personal touch to your correspondence.

Only include relevant information. Your introductory document should remain three or four short paragraphs of three or four sentences each. Write about the most important details of your skills, education, experience and how those aspects relate to the position at hand.

Thank the person for the time spent reading your letter. You should always address the correspondence to a person with a name, so research the staffer responsible for reading your stuff. Look on the company's website, call the office, or email the HR administrative assistant to find out who responds to inquiries about the position.

Send your correspondence as an attachment in an email, and differentiate this attachment from your resume and transcript. Make the process as easy as possible for your potential employer.

A cover letter puts your personality on display for your future boss. Create a tailored document that shows you are the right person for the job with a concise, finely tuned piece of writing that gets noticed. That way, recruiters feel compelled to dig deeper and read your resume.

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