Cover Letters – A Blessing and a Curse

I have yet to find anyone who enjoys writing cover letters, yet they are just as important as the resume in terms of moving you one step closer to an interview. In fact, the cover letter provides an opportunity to more creatively tell your story.

Think of the cover letter this way:

C – Call out leadership experiences, success stories, skills, or awards in the very beginning  that tie specifically to the job description as this will keep a recruiter’s attention.  Do NOT repeat bullet items from your resume.

O – Open up. This is your chance to be bold and proud of your accomplishments. Show how these skills will benefit the employer and minimize the use of “I”.

V – Verify the appropriate contact name to use in the greeting. If this information isn’t provided, do some research. Check LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook or call the company and ask who the HR representative or the hiring manager is for the position. Never use a general greeting like “To whom it may concern.”

E – Elevate your strengths. Instead of using terms like detail oriented, strategic, or team player, use a descriptive statement and then follow it up with a specific instance when you displayed that skill.

R – Review your cover letter to ensure it complements your resume, sounds personal, has a consistent tone, and is less than one page.  It’s your chance to give an employer a holistic picture.  Don’t forget to check spelling and grammar too!

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