Why We Bother With a Cover Letter

John Krautzel
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It is common for job seekers to quickly rush through the process of writing a cover letter to meet the requirements of an available position, but you could be damaging your chances of nabbing your dream job if you don't make this task a top priority. The purpose of an introductory letter is to show not only your skills and experience, but also why you are the best fit for the position.

Focus your job search on crafting a cover letter that stands out from the rest of the competition. The purpose of your letter should be to expand upon information on your resume, but also provide information that is not on your application materials. For example, the letter gives you the chance to explain gaps in your employment. Provide reasons for the gaps by showing that you were actively seeking a position, attending college classes or studying abroad. Prospective employers may assume that you were less than diligent about working if you do not explain these gaps.

Another primary purpose of a cover letter is to match your skills and experience with the qualifications of the position. Personalize the letter by using keywords from the job description. Highlight desired traits, skills and experience the employer is seeking. Your resume may provide a list of previous job duties, but you need to expand upon these within your letter and detail how your skills led you to successfully meet deadlines, work with teams, and attract or retain clients within past positions.

Your cover letter should also account for any shifts in careers. It is common for employees to seek new opportunities, but radical changes in employment that have led you to vastly different industries need to be explained. Provide details about how you utilized your skills from one industry within the next, and show that you have been gradually building your skills and experience to prepare you for your dream job.

Articulately identify for potential employers why you want to work for their company as well. Customize each cover letter so it applies to the position, the industry and the company itself. Research the services and products offered by the business, investigate the company's mission and goals, and learn about the business's impact on the community. Use this information in your letter, and show how you are on board with the company's mission, willing to further community efforts and ready to boost profits and productivity.

A cover letter is a crucial part of the hiring process and provides hiring managers with information that is not included on standard resumes and application materials. Make your letter stand out by customizing the information to fit the position and the company as a whole.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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