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Three Approaches to Writing Cover Letters
4/15/2008

Three Approaches to Writing Cover Letters

Cover letters are a valuable tool when submitting your resume to employers.  There are three approaches to them: No cover letter, use a stock cover letter, or create one specifically for each job opportunity.

With out a cover letter you’re relying on whoever reads your resume to figure out how you are a perfect fit for the job.  This can work if your resume is a mirror of what the job demands.  But even then, there might be someone else out there who is equally qualified but demonstrated more effort by writing a good cover letter; that's what employer want to see.  If you're lucky, maybe the employer doesn’t care about the cover letter and just wants your resume.

Then there’s the stock cover letter.  It’s not as effective as a custom version, but it works.  Then again, what if you accidentally leave in the job title of the last job you applied for on your old, outdated version.  The employer might think you don’t care enough to make sure the details are correct and that you don’t care enough to do a good job.  Plus, the employer wants to know that you are aware of the job and company that you are applying to; they want to know you have thoughtfully considered the requirements and qualifications of the opportunity.

Glenn Brummage, VP of Sales & Marketing at Innes Clothing, describes his opinion on cover letters: “A great example of what not to do is a candidate whose summary is,  'I’m a high energy individual.'  I handle multiple demands with enthusiasm.  It doesn’t say anything about wanting to do the job I have, and being able to do it.  It’s astounding!  For every opportunity there are a lot of applicants whose resumes fit the general mold.  If a person doesn’t put together a good presentation, there are hundreds more I can look at.”

Then there’s the custom cover letter.  You invest time and it’s perfect.  It tells the reader and employer exactly how you are a perfect fit for the job.  This can greatly increase you're chances of at least getting an interview.  It’s an investment of your time, and maybe an investment for your future employer.

If you do use a cover letter, here’s a link to a short article on three main points to cover.