Resume Cover Letter The cover letter, which accompanies the resume, is your first introduction about you. A good cover letter may get you an interview. The cover letter is your chance to sell yourself to a potential employer as the best candidate for a specific position. As such, it’s just as important as your resume. In fact, you should never send out a resume without the cover letter.
The most important thing to remember is that your cover letter serves a separate function from your resume and should not be used to repeat the details of your resume, such as work history, education, or personal objectives. The resume is about you, your experience and your skills. The cover letter is about what you can do for the employer.
An effective cover letter should accomplish the following things:
- The first paragraph should convey your aim of sending the resume and should reflect your interest in the company or the industry. If you were referred to the company by a mutual friend or associate, mention them. When offering to fill the company’s need, be specific as possible. Don’t just mention the job position, describe what the company requires from that position.
- In the second part of the letter state (briefly) the skills you will be bringing to the company that will specifically meet the employer’s needs. The resume should take care of the detailed explanation. Instead, use this section to highlight how you will use your talents and experience to benefit the company. Keep your use of the personal pronoun “I” to a minimum.
End your letter by mentioning your contact information i.e. your phone number or the e-mail. Indicate that if you don’t hear from them within a few days, you will follow-up with a phone call to make sure your resume and cover letter have reached the intended recipient, and to arrange a face to face interview. Don’t forget to sign your letter.
- Your letter reflects how well you can communicate; so make it look professional. If possible, address the letter to the person who does the hiring. The length of the page should not be more than one page. The letter should be typewritten and on the same paper as the resume. Check for any grammatical and spelling errors. Be brief and to the point; In about three to four paragraphs, explain what position you are applying for, why you feel qualified for the position and why you should get the job. Use simple, direct language. Don’t be negative or too humble. Be confident and positive.
- Always make copies of the cover letter for future reference
A resume is a very important tool to promote your accomplishments, qualifications and skills. However, a good resume will attract the attention of hiring manager and secure a job interview. Think of your resume as a promotional brochure about you. You need to show a potential employer what you have accomplished and where your experience lies and what you can do. Your resume is also an example of your communication and organizational skills. A neatly done resume is itself another reminder of what kind of valuable employee you would be. Likewise, a badly done resume reflects the kind of person you are. There is a lot of information available on resumes and resume Writing. Books and the internet are good sources of information.
Your resume should be attractive, easy to read and accurate about your work history and accomplishments. Keep your resume concise and limit to a maximum of two pages. Use value-added words that describes yourself as “accomplished”, “successful”, “developed” or “managed”.
The two styles of resumes are the Chronological format and the Functional format. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to presenting your information. A third style, the Combination, is a compromise between the two and has become more popular in recent years.
Make your words count. Your use of language is extremely important in the presentation of the resume. Avoid large paragraphs (over six or seven lines). If you provide small, digestible pieces of information you stand a better chance of having your resume actually read. Don’t write sentences which are vague. Employers will feel more comfortable hiring you if they can verify your accomplishments.
Check your resume for proper grammar and misspellings. Avoid unusual or exotic font styles; use simple fonts with a professional look. Use standard, non-textured, fine-grained paper in white or ivory. Keep in mind that textured and dark colored paper may not copy well when the employer makes copies to pass around to other participants in the hiring process.
Avoid Unnecessary details in your resume which can take up a lot of valuable space. Do not include personal facts such as age, date of birth or marital status. List your hobbies and interests only if you can relate them to the position you’re applying for.
Research the Company and the Position.
The more you know about the company and the job you are applying for, the better you will appear in the interview. An interviewer will be impressed by your interest and motivation, and you will be able to explain what you can do for the company.
Find out as much key information as you can about the company, its products and its customers. If possible, talk to people who work at the company. There may be other sources of information on the Web, especially if the company is publicly traded.
Search for the following:
- Office locations
- Products and services
- Recent news
- Financial info, including salary and stock
- Prepare for the Actual Interview
Practice your answers to Common Questions. Likewise, prepare a list of questions to ask the employer.Most interviews follow this pattern:
First, you answer questions about your experience and qualifications, then you ask questions about the job.
Rehearse your interview with a friend. You should be able to convey all pertinent information about yourself in 15 minutes. Tape yourself to check your diction, speed, and body language.
Prepare your interview materials before you leave. Bring several copies of your resume, a list of references, and, if appropriate, any work samples. Make sure they are all up-to-date.
Dress professionally and comfortably. You will be judged in some respects by what you wear. When in doubt, dress conservatively.
- A simple jacket or business suit is a good to wear for an interview.
- Shoes should be polished.
- Facial hair should be neatly trimmed.
- Hair and fingernails should be well-groomed.
- Use cologne or after-shave sparingly.
- Bring pen and notepad to jot down any information you may need to remember (but don’t take notes during the interview).