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You may think of your resume as your first chance to make a great impression on a prospective employer. And it is, without a doubt, very important. But before a hiring manager even considers your resume, they will review your cover letter.

Having your resume land alone in a pile, without a cover letter, is like showing up unannounced, without an appointment. It most likely will not be well received. So, if you are doubting in the slightest whether or not you need a cover letter, the answer is a resounding “yes!” You not only need one, but it needs to be customized, personalized, well thought out, and error free. And, it needs to be the first tool that sells you as the best candidate for the job.

Tailor Your Cover Letter to the Job

Both your cover letter and your resume should be custom-tailored to each position for which you apply. The initial time a hiring manager spends reviewing each of these documents averages about six seconds – and if they appear generic or are addressed “to whom it may concern,” you can expect they will be tossed into the rejection bin.

  • Make it personal. Address your cover letter to a specific individual, using their full name and title.
  • Keep it concise, clear and to the point. Include the job title and describe the two or three top reasons why you are the best fit, as well as brief outlines of your best career accomplishments.
  • Use the “inverted pyramid” method. Put the most compelling facts and impressive data up front. A hiring manager will not wade through a lot of lengthy material before getting to the main point.
  • Emphasize the traits that set you apart. Perhaps you are fluent in a second language or have recently mastered the latest version of a relevant software program. Stress whatever will enable you to make a unique and valuable contribution if hired.
  • Show that you’ve done your homework. Mention a department, product, project or new business acquisition that the company has recently made.

Be Positive and Proactive

Keep your cover letter professional and always maintain an upbeat, positive tone.

  • State the fact that you are available for a personal interview. Give your full contact information and give a date in the near future when you will follow up.
  • Include nothing negative. For example, neither here nor at any time in your interview or hiring process should you bad mouth a previous employer or colleague.
  • Include salary information only if asked. Even then, provide a range. And although it should go without saying, be honest. An employer will fact check and find out the truth anyway, so demonstrate your integrity right from the start.

The hiring experts at Pridestaff Fresno specialize in matching the right talent with the right jobs. This includes working with you as you develop the perfect cover letters, resumes, and techniques to land your next great job and take your career to a new level. Read our related posts or contact us today for more information.

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