The Keys to Writing a Killer Resume Cover Letter

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As a job seeker, you must understand the importance and value of a professional resume... Do you, however, also take stock of the importance of a well-written cover letter?

Many job seekers fail to realize that a cover letter completes a resume, and both should go hand-in-hand. Most employers do not have the time to read each and every single resume they receive, as they probably receive hundreds at a time. If you submit a well-written and thoughtful cover letter, you will have an advantage over your competition and will have better chances in getting that interview.

Do not waste the time and effort you spent on your professional resume only to see it go to waste because you failed to deliver a cover letter that clearly emphasizes your capacity, skills and determination to get the job. This article will outline the top 5 keys to writing a killer cover letter that will help you win that dream job.

Key # 1: Determine and Understand the Goal of Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is your sales letter, and your resume contains the specifications of what you are selling: YOURSELF. What you are trying to solicit is an action -- the employer should invite you for an interview. With the cover letter, you should be able to reinforce your key competencies and experiences that are indicated in your resume. Along with this, the cover letter should help you to:

Express your desire to work for the company/organization

Highlight the skill sets and expertise that you can bring to the organization

Demonstrate your individuality and personality

Arouse employer's interest to hire you and invite you for an interview

Key # 2: Research and Learn

Many applicants tend to neglect the importance of knowing as much as they can about the company for whom they are applying, which is why a lot of people create generic cover letters, and fail. To show the employer that you are genuine and you know your stuff, customize your cover letter for a particular employer, and indicate why you desire the position and the organization.

In order to create a unique and customized cover letter, you should research about the company and learn as much as you can. You can tailor the cover letter better if you know more about the employer. Check the company website and find out about its goals and achievements, and read about what's happening in the organization.

By knowing these things, you will have a clearer picture of what you can do for the company, and pattern your cover letter according to the needs of the employer. This in itself will score you points when you send your application in, because it will be apparent for the employer that you care about your intentions to work with them so much that you took the time and effort to know them better.

Key # 3: Personalize

Most job listings do not include the company hiring manager's details. In connection to what was discussed in Key # 3, your research should include calling the company and explain that you are interested to apply and would like to request for the name and title of the hiring manager. If this is not possible, you can research online. It is highly probable that the hiring manager has a LinkedIn account connected to the company.

Creating a cover letter that starts with "To whom it may concern," indicates that you lacked the initiative, whereas, addressing the hiring manager directly will show that you really took the extra mile to locate the hiring manager's details and personalize your cover letter.

Key # 4: Keep the Cover Letter Polished, Professional and Genuine

Your cover letter should start strong and clear. The first paragraph should not dilly-dally and should go straight to
expressing your intention and desire to apply for the position. In this paragraph, you should also state why you are interested in the post and what you can bring to the table as a potential employee of the company.

Your tone should be professional, straightforward and direct without sounding arrogant. Do not attempt to be "too witty", "clichéd" and "cute" in your cover letter, especially in the opening. Gimmicks fail to impress the hiring authority and would give them the impression that you are insincere.

Polish your cover letter and remove the fluff, but don't forget to be interesting, open and friendly. Use power words, and mention positive things about yourself.

Always check the spelling and grammar. Keep in mind that grammar and spelling errors can put a question mark on your attention to detail and professionalism. It may even turn the hiring manager off. Use the MS Word spell check facility and use F7 to check grammar. After that, ask a friend or family member to look over the cover letter and proofread it before sending it out.

Key # 5: Showcase Your Strengths and Highlight Only the Relevant Things

Your cover letter should be concise, brief and direct. Summarize everything into one page, and if possible, stick to 4 to 5 paragraphs. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers are often in a hurry and probably won't have the time to read every single thing you wrote on the cover letter. With this in mind, make sure that you highlight ONLY your most relevant skills and experiences. You should also state concrete examples of your trainings, skill sets and capabilities.

About the Author:

Gerald Penniston is a part-time freelance writer, who specializes in adding a bit of flair and character to an otherwise boring job resume. If you have some real talent as a writer and you are currently "out of work", Gerald would like to encourage you to get a free writer's account at and start advertising your writing talents to its customers. Learn more here:
Copyright (c) 2013 Gerald Penniston

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