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Cover all angles with the right cover letter

Angela deFreitas, Career Writer

The cover letter which you will submit with every application for employment plays a vital role and should not be treated casually.

Put the same amount of thought and emphasis into this product as you would your resume.

The cover letter is what a prospective employer first sees when your mail is opened, whether it's an email or posted by regular mail.

Such employers routinely discard many applications based solely on poorly written cover letters, so one which is well-written will give you a better chance of opening that door to an interview.

The goal of your cover letter is to both introduce and sell yourself to the company. Do this in a business-like and professional way. State the reason for your letter - i.e. the job you are applying for.

Summarise the most important details contained in your resume which follows the letter.
Your cover letter should be short and definitely no more than one page. This might be three brief paragraphs.
Be professional and concise. Keep your tone business-like. Never try to be humorous or include anything of a personal nature.
Know the job you are applying for. Be specific and name a job title.
State why you want to work for the company and include this information in the first paragraph
State the contributions you will make to the company based on previous skills and experiences gained elsewhere.
Never mention any work experience in the cover letter that isn't included on your resume. That is a definite no-no which will confuse and annoy the reader and may even make you look like a liar.
Have someone proof-read your letter before mailing it to make sure it contains no typos or grammatical errors.
Always specify a date on which you will follow-up with the company and say how you will do so - whether in person, by phone, e-mail etc.

Since your goal is to get in the door for an interview, taking the time to create a winning cover letter is a tactic you really cannot afford to skip!

Tips to make your resume easier to read:

Use white or off-white 8-1/2- x 11 inch paper
Print on one side of the paper only
Choose one non-decorative typeface and stick to it. Use a readable font size, 11-12 point, possibly Arial or Times New Roman
If you must mail your resume, send it in an 8-1/2- x 11 inch envelope

Your cover letter is in reality a sales letter and the product which you are offering is YOU. At this time when there are more sellers than buyers, your marketing has to be outstanding in the eyes of your reader and your packaging has to be attractive and perfect - no typos and no poor grammar and presentation.

*Angela deFreitas is General Manager of Choices Career Advice, Kingston. Email
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