Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Necessity of Professional Cover Letters

Many job seekers stress over cover letters more than they do their own resumes. It may surprise some, besides cover letters are typically a one-page preface to your intricately prepared resume. But, the truth is, that your resume may look dull without a good cover letter to introduce it. Cover letters are the first impression of you to HR managers and set the tone for how your resume will be received. You can have a perfect resume, but if the preceding letter is not well done, then your resume will not get the type of attention it deserves. Everyone looking for a job should have a professional letter and resume in order to find the career that's right for them.

When you first enter the job market (most of us at around 21 years of age) don't know how important cover letters are for you, much less how to write one that sells you. Many people are not aware of the benefits that a simple, well-crafted introductory letter to a prospective employer can have. It introduces you to your prospective employer, but also gives a glimpse of your personality.

Just a few weeks into your job search, you will realize that a well-crafted cover letter is not an option, it's a necessity. Through the support of a professional resume writer, you can finally have the letter that sells your individual personality and traits. If you already have a letter you're using, it could always use another eye on it in order to see where you can make changes or additions. You want to sell yourself in your cover letter, your resume speaks to what type of experience and qualifications you have, that's why it's important to have a cover letter that sets you apart.

But, just having one is usually not enough. After a few weeks or months of unanswered applications and fruitless job searches, you begin to come to a final conclusion. The letter you use to precede your resume needs to be specific to the position you're applying for.

When you, or your professional writer, drafts your first letter, the primary focus is on presentation and the format. How long should the cover letter be? Where to assign the date? What type of font is right for my cover letter? But, throughout you want to focus on one thing - quality content. If your cover letter is full of buzz words or just inane babble, then it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

It's always important to remember, before you start writing, that content is king. It's fairly easy to lose sight of what's important and lose focus instead of paying attention to what's important. That doesn't mean that there are not guidelines to follow, but your professional writer can help you deal with the details. You will also want to ensure that you address specific qualifications required by the position description in your letter.

You do not want to have spelling or grammatical errors in your letter or resume. That's an instant turn off to any prospective employer. Once you have finished with your document, have a friend or colleague read over the content. A second set of eyes will help to ensure that you do not have typos in your letter.

Remember that the main point of your cover letter is to get noticed and sell yourself.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, is a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant and President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 12 best-selling career books. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Erin has written thousands of resumes for executives and professionals.