You are ready to apply to the job of your dreams. You have a thick, killer resume listing all your achievements and experience. You have a killer transcript showing all the marvelous grades you got on the way to a successful career. You have a resume cover letter that has enough bite to take your prospective employer by the neck and make him or her your slave forever.
What does that great resume cover letter look like? A resume cover letter should act as the complement, and not just the cover, to your transcript and resume. It should show your prospective employers what your resume and transcript cannot. Many prospective employers hardly hire new people merely on the basis of their educational attainment, or their breadth of experience. Prospective employers actually read the cover letter to gauge your personality and passion for the job.
How can such a small document do such a great thing? Believe it or not, your cover letter is actually a reflection of your personality. There is little you can do to a resume or transcript, but a cover letter’s contents are entirely in your power. A resume cover letter, moreover, should show passion: achievements, without passion, can seem empty, and no employer wants a boring employee with no spark or fire. Show that spark or fire through your resume cover letter!
First, make your letter personal. Address it to the person who will hire you, and avoid addresses such as “Dear Madame or Sir,” or “Dear Mr or Ms,” or, “To whom it may concern.” Such addresses should be reserved for legal documents or impersonal correspondence. Your cover letter should not alienate your recipient, and should show that you are applying exclusively to the company, not placing them in your personal slush pile.
Second, don’t be afraid to list your achievements. Never sell yourself short: be confident in everything that you have achieved. After all, you worked hard to get where you are, right? However, don’t gush about your achievements, as you already have your resume to back you up; and make sure that the company needs to hear what good things you have to say about yourself.
This brings us to the third point: do research about the company to which you are applying. You need to know a company’s goals and vision, and use this information to write your resume cover letter. If your career goals are perfectly aligned with those of the company’s, then you may soon be looking at a match made in heaven.
Fourth, be brief and direct to the point! Some naïve job applicants assume that managers and prospective employers are stiff beings with no hearts, minds, or senses of humor. Although this can be true for some managers, many prospective employers actually look for someone who has the excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for the job. However, they want to see someone expressing all this in four paragraphs or less. Your prospective employers’ time is sacred, so save them a few minutes of their precious schedules by making a short cover letter that goes straight to the point.
Fifth, show how much you want to be interviewed. Provide all your contact information, and say that you are open to an interview and would appreciate being spoken with regarding the company and the job opening. If you show an active voice in your resume cover letter, you just might land the job.
Your resume is useless without the right resume cover letter. Your achievements can ring dull if you don’t have the personality to back it up. Are you ready for that job application? Get that resume, transcript, and cover letter ready, and make them the best of their kind.
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