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Writing a Resume Cover Letter
As its name states it, a cover letter is a brief letter that is sent with the resume to introduce or present ourselves when applying for a job. The principal functions that the cover letter has are:
- Presenting yourself and introducing your resume
- Highlighting your strongest achievements throughout your experience
- Encourage the reader to know more about you in your resume
- Ending with an “invitation” that suggests the recruiter to take action, such as calling you to go to the interview.
Writing a resume cover letter is an important task during the job hunting process. It might turn out to be very complicated when you don’t know where to begin. In some cases, you might want to consider asking a career counselor for help, so you direct your efforts in a better way.
The key when writing the cover letter is to create it as personal as you can get. Meaning that you have to direct your cover letter to a specific person (never create a general one) and specific job. Avoid sending generic cover letters, you might think that they’ll fit well in all situations, but you might be forgetting details that might get you the job.
Undoubtedly, personalizing each letter means that you need to make a bigger effort, but we guarantee that it’s totally worth it. It’s important to take a reasonable amount of time finding out about the company, maybe even give them a call to know how or who to send the cover letter to, that way you can write a document that is only relevant to the job in question.
Moreover, if you want your cover letter to be effective, it’s convenient that you follow this established format:
- First paragraph: Why are you writing this cover letter?
In some cases, it might happen that you’ve been introduced to the potential employer through a friend or acquaintance. Make sure to mention that mutual contact from the beginning, as it will encourage the employer to keep reading.
If you’re writing the cover letter as a response of a job ad, mention where you found out about the position to be filled. And more important still, express your enthusiasm and how your qualifications and the job expectations coincide.
- Central paragraphs: What do you have to offer?
When you respond to an ad, make a specific reference to the requirements listed and show in the best possible way how your particular skills and experience are related to the company and position. Emphasize on your achievements and skills at resolving problems. Show them how your academic accomplishments and working qualities are specifically relevant for the job you’re applying to.
In a cover letter you need to show the potential employer that you understand the position’s requirements and that you have what it takes to perform extremely well. So remember to think about the qualities that you have and the qualities the job –in particular- requires, and include them attractively. Always show yourself as an enthusiastic and motivated person, with a positive attitude.
- Conclusion paragraph: How will you follow up your cover letter?
Conclude your cover letter reiterating your interest in the job and letting the recruiter know how to contact you: include your phone number, fax, e-mail address, etc. Or you can also directly ask for an informational job interview. Tell them you’ll be calling again to arrange an appointment at a date and time that is convenient for both of you, make sure to call during the established time.
You can also tell them that your references, portfolio, or samples of your job, are completely available for the recruiter to see.