When it is time to venture out into the real world and find a job, most students are somewhat overhwhelmed and confused at the idea of creating a resume. Even the word itself has a funny asterisk above it and appears foreign. Creating a strong and relevant resume is one of the single most important parts of getting your name out there and putting your acheivements down on paper.
On the helpful blog at “Quintessential Resumes & Cover Letters,” author Teena Rose offers tips from her book, The 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer. A coverletter can be seen as a sort of bridge connecting your resume with your future career. Rose states that the cover letter should be an ” introducer, an answerer of questions, and a speaker for your candidacy.” You do not want the cover letter to simply restate everything that you have written in your resume; instead you want it to summarize and highlight the key aspects of it. Here are some of the main uses of a cover letter as explained by Rose:
Articulating relocation choice or willingness to travel;
Stating salary requirement, if requested by company;
Reflecting work experience in lieu of education requirement;
Highlighting key points that match the hiring company’s requirements.
Lisa Newman offers some excellent advice for remembering what to include in your cover letter in her blog at Career-resources.com. She compares the cover letter to your “best interview suit,” and suggests using the acronym C-O-V-E-R when writing the different parts of your cover letter.
Connection- In the opening paragraph, establish some sort of connection between you and the employer, explaining how you would fit into their company and the similarities you possess that would be a great addition to their team. People are attracted to people that are like them, and by emphasizing the connections you have with the company, you are starting your cover letter off on the right foot.
Overview- Since the resume is a statement of what you have done, the cover letter should contain an overview or background information on who you are as a person. A company is not only hiring you as a worker, but as a human being as well. By explaining a little about yourself, it shows you are bringing more to the table than just a set of learned skills.
Voice- Now that the employer has a good idea about who you are and what you have accomplished, it is crucial that you voice your interest in starting a career at the desired firm. Clearly state what it is about the company has got you interested. Explain the feelings that you felt when you applied and how you would feel if were hired.
Examples- This is the part of the cover letter where you can state your “experiences and skills” to differentiate yourself from the competitors. Include not only the skills and knowledge you have obtained over the years, but details and examples that will suppliment your acheivements.
Request- After you have explained what you have to offer and how you are an excellent candidate, Newman says the end of the cover letter is where you should “close the deal” and request for a follow-up interview upon reading your resume. Express your interest and include details as to when and where to contact you, and how much you desire an interview.
Possibly the best tip about creating your most effective cover letter comes from Dave Vower on Definition-of-leadership.com: “KEEP IT REAL!” Your resume should be a direct representation of who you are and what you have to offer. So be honest and put your best you out there. Follow these simple tips and your cover letter will show your true colors!
Information used on this blog can be found at the following websites: