5 for Friday: Cover Letter Edition

by monsterstaff, published 10/04/2013

5 for Friday: Cover Letter EditionIf you’re like many other Americans, job hunting has you running a mental checklist with a seemingly endless number of do's and don'ts. With updating your resume and interview skills, freshening up your professional wardrobe and cleaning up your online presence, there’s so much to get in order.

As you tend to all the obvious elements, make sure you don’t overlook one small but extremely important ingredient in job-search success: the cover letter. It's a snapshot of why you think you're the perfect candidate for the job and it's vital you get it right.

This week's 5 for Friday provides articles with advice and information about writing a great cover letter.
  • The Mind Trick That Will Change the Way You Write Cover Letters Forever. The Daily Muse: “You sit down to craft your cover letter, and the primary thought in your mind is: I hope they choose me. I really want this job. Anxiety floods your body, triggering a rush of paralyzing thoughts and questions: Am I good enough? Do I have the right qualifications? What if they’ve already found someone to hire? Am I just wasting my time? What if I sound too casual? Or too formal? Am I just kidding myself? Gah! The good news? There’s a very simple mind trick that changes your entire cover letter-writing approach in an instant.”
  • Want A Job? Know How To Write A Cover Letter. The Courant: “Keep it short. I started putting word limits on cover letters because I couldn't stand, nor did I have the time to read, the epically long letters I'd receive. I'm going to give your letter maybe 30 seconds of my time. If you are interested in a job in journalism, you should be able to tell me about yourself and why I should hire you in less than 200 words. I've never hired someone with a long-winded cover letter. Same goes for resumes.”
  • Cover Letters Can Make or Break that Job Opportunity. Golden Gate Express: “Yes, a hiring manager will be able to see your job experience and years in college on a resume, but a cover letter is a chance to show off your soft skills, talk in detail about projects that would apply to the job and write a sentence that woos your employer. A cover letter is your first introduction with an employer. It’s the initial display of your skills beyond the bullet points on your resume, giving you a chance to talk about your soft skills and the experiences you’ve had that would benefit the employer.”
  • 3 Easy Steps to A Quick Cover Letter Makeover, By Debra Wheatman. Ebit Information Systems: “Review the job posting or information on the employer’s website. Determine  the requirements of the job. Do you possess the education, skills, and  experience for this opportunity? Make note of those basic requirements specific  to that particular opportunity. This is the content for your opening paragraph.  You may think this is a no-brainer. Well, many candidates miss the mark by starting with a generic opening  paragraph. Present yourself as a worthy candidate by stating the position to  which you are applying (or department).”
  • Make Your Cover Letter Work For You. ResumeEdge: “Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. They look at dozens (maybe even hundreds) of cover letters and resumes daily. They don’t want your life story, a dissertation, or a recap of your college adventures. Cover letters should be brief, concise, and conversational. They should add and clarify not repeat what is in your resume. Learn to say what you need to in less than 300 words.”
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