Spruce up that Cover Letter

25 04 2012

I think it’s safe to say that the difficult economic environment has not left anyone untouched.  Folks feel it at the grocery store, with prices in goods increasing, and they certainly feel it at the gas pump every week.  Most recently I have noticed amongst my circle of friends an increase of those searching for jobs.  I know this is not new for many; however I found this article that was helpful in giving tips on how to make a cover letter really stand out by not committing these outdated pieces of advice.

Myth #1. Keep it short.

It used to be that the cover letter was mainly viewed as a short, somewhat personal, introduction to the resume; the real emphasis being placed on the resume to get you an invitation to interview.  Today, hiring managers want to glean as much as they can about an applicant and their personality from the cover letter.  I think it is important to be as interesting and relatable as possible.  Also, be specific; don’t write a generic cover letter that you send to each job you are applying for.  Tailor the letter to the specific job you are seeking.

Myth #2. Use formal language.

“Love, Baby Kangaroo.”  Have you seen that Friends episode?  Joey is trying to sound smarter in a recommendation letter he is writing so he uses the thesaurus on the computer.  The entire letter rambles on with out-of-context synonyms and ends with Joey even using a synonym for his name.  In his efforts to sound more intelligent, he just made himself look even more foolish.  And that’s the point.  When preparing your cover letter, share your interest in the job and why you believe you are qualified as genuinely and as straightforward as you can.

Myth #3. Explain what experience you have that proves you can do the job.

This one honestly surprised me, but it seems that today hiring managers are looking for your understanding of the company and what it does and how you fit with their mission.  Hiring managers can read about your qualifications in your resume, they want to know that you understand the company and will be a good fit.

I encourage you to put great thought into your cover letters and try to avoid these myths so that you can stand out in today’s challenging market.

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