The Importance of Cover Letters in Career Assessment

Along with the resume, job seekers should always include a cover letter when applying for a job. The cover letter, which is read first, is your chance to stand out from the crowd when entering a hiring manager’s stack of resumes. It can make the difference between getting the interview and having your resume ignored. It should complement, not copy, your resume. There are a handful of basic rules to follow when writing your cover letter that will make it attractive.

No matter what career you’re interested in, there is an important connection between career assessment, and your ability to write a powerful cover letter. When you are ready to start your career, you will need to apply for a job. One of the steps in applying for a job is to send a potential employer your cover letter and resume. The cover letter is the very first thing the employer will see. If it isn’t up to par, it may be tossed in the trash, and you just lost a chance to get a job. Therefore, learning how to write a good cover letter is an important part of career assessment.

Specify the Reader

Always use the hiring manager’s name in the greeting. If you don’t have his/her name, obtain it through the Internet or by calling the office. Without this personalization, your cover letter has an appearance of disinterest in the job and resembles junk mail that contains greetings such as "Dear Resident". When you contact a potential employer, this is the last impression you want to make. To succeed, you must differentiate yourself. Address the employer by their name, and it is very likely that they will give your resume a second look.

People naturally enjoy having things personalized for them. They hate receiving things which are produced in mass. When you send an employer your cover letter, and you don’t specify their name, you just made it appear as if your cover letter was mass produced. Since you didn’t take the time to use their name, they won’t take the time to read it or consider you for the job.

Strong Opening and Closing

These are two very important sections of the cover letter, because first impression and last words are the most memorable. A lively opening paragraph grabs the hirer’s attention and usually keeps it for the remainder of the letter. It’s also your best chance to show personality, so make it personable to show that you’re not writing a simple form letter. At the same time, this paragraph should stay simple and include reference to the position sought and a statement as to why you think you’re qualified for the job.

Emphasize what you can do for the company and provide evidence to assure the reader you’re not blowing smoke up them. The closing paragraph should contain, and not necessarily limit itself to, a statement that indicates you will contact them soon to see if an appointment can be set up; this removes the risk of waiting to hear from them, which is not a certainty and can help lead to the hiring of another candidate.

Or, if you don’t want to be that direct obvious in your intentions, you can come up with another reason why you’d be contacting them, such as, I will contact you in the next week to see if you require any additional information about my qualifications. It could be argued that the opening and closing is one of the most important parts of your cover letter. If the first sentence doesn’t grab the attention of the reader, you’re finished. Career assessment involves more than just figuring out which career you want to choose. It also involves learning how to write proper resumes and cover letters.

List Accomplishments

It’s smart to have a bulleted list of accomplishments that pertain to the job you’re applying for for a couple reasons. One, its easier on the eyes of the reader compared to large amounts of blocked text. Two, it draws the hiring manager’s eyes to the ingredients that will get you the job, which is the different things you have to offer. On this list, be as specific as possible, using examples. When choosing your list of accomplishments, make sure you include the most relevant-to-the-job skills and experiences.

When you apply for a job, you should think of yourself as a salesman. The product that you’re selling is yourself. If you’re applying for a good job, it is very likely that you have some stiff competition. To succeed, you must be able to explain why you’re better than the other applicants, and you must be able to do this in a short period of time. Doing this correctly is one of the hallmarks of career assessment.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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