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Cover Letters Introduce Your Resume

Cover Letters Introduce Your Resume
By Doris Appelbaum

Did you ever receive a promotional sales letter but were unsure about what the company was actually selling? If the marketer's message is unclear, the campaign will probably be unsuccessful. The same goes for your cover letter and resume, which are really sales pieces designed to market your credentials so you will outperform your competitors. To maximize the success of your campaign, your cover letter and resume should address the needs of your potential employer.

Consider your cover letter an introduction to your resume. It provides information that will peak interest without giving the entire story away. A cover letter explains your story briefly and makes employers keen on finding out more about you. After employers read your cover letter, they will be eager to read the rest of the story in your resume. They will then decide whether your story merits further investigation and/or an interview.

Introduce Yourself

Cover letters are very effective tools to introduce yourself to future employers. They will see your name and many of your qualifications. Remember that your cover letter is your entre to giving a good first impression. If an employer is unimpressed by your cover letter, your resume may not have a chance. Use the cover letter to tell a potential employer why you are especially interested in his or her company. Cover letters should always be addressed to a specific person. Your cover letter shows that you are actively pursuing a new job. The essential function of the cover letter is to convey to the potential employer your qualifications, the fact that you will be in touch, and that you are extremely interested in obtaining a position with this particular company.

Explain Yourself

A cover letter can be particularly effective when it you are trying to explain a unique situation to future employers. For example, if you are in the process of relocating to New York, but you are still living in Milwaukee, your resume is only going to have your old address on it. You can easily explain in your cover letter that you are moving to the company`s city and that you have heard that their company is one of the finest places to work: "I have heard from various colleagues that your company offers the best opportunities for growth and training." Cover letters also give you an opportunity to mention referrals and/or contacts from inside the company. If your friend, relative, or professional colleague told you about an opening in the company and suggested you check it out, mention his or her name and that he/she referred you to the company in your cover letter. If you met a representative from the company at a Career Fair or professional society meeting, let your future employer in on your current connections to the company. You could say, " Bob Smith, your Sales Manager, suggested that I apply for the open position in your marketing department based on my qualifications." It automatically gives the employer a reference for you, and it shows motivation to follow up on advice.

Make a Change

A cover letter can also convey that you are interested in expanding and changing your career. If your resume is full of the same types of positions, employers will not be able to tell that you are interested in choosing a new profession. Highlight your accomplishments and skills and indicate how they might contribute to the company`s success after they hire you.

If your cover letter is not impressive, employers may never read your resume, no matter how dynamic your resume is. Be concise, accurate and enthusiastic. You do not want to give away too much information. You just want to entice them to read a little further. With a colorful cover that promises to be a good read, you should have no problem getting any potential employer to take the next step and read your carefully crafted resume.

Beware, however, of common cover letter mistakes and blunders. These include, but are not limited to,
  1. Unrelated career goals
  2. Comparisons and clichés
  3. Wasted space
  4. Form letters/mass mailings
  5. Inappropriate stationery
  6. Amusing anecdotes
  7. Erroneous company information
  8. Desperation
  9. Personal photos
  10. Confessed shortcomings
  11. Misrepresentation
  12. Demanding statements
  13. Missing résumé
  14. Personal information
  15. Use of third person
  16. Tense trouble
  17. Gimmicks
  18. Typographical errors
  19. Messy corrections
  20. Omitted signature
Remember to send your cover letter and resume to a specific person. The correct name and spelling of the person's name is imperative, even if you have to call your potential employer to get it.

Be sure to end your cover letter with a strong closing which indicates the action you desire. Take the initiative by requesting an interview and/or stating your intention to call in a week or two.

Doris Appelbaum, Founder and President of Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc., in Milwaukee, WI, is a professional resume writer and career consultant with 25+ years of experience. She has been quoted as an expert nationwide and has provided career transition services for major corporations and transitioning military. She is a career columnist for many publications and websites. Her career history includes career management for colleges, teaching and training, human resources for a government agency, and employment developmen. She was an honor graduate from Hofstra University with a BA - English/Journalism and an MS - Secondary Education.

Doris Appelbaum, President
Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc.
P. O. Box 804
Milwaukee, WI 53201
414-352-5994 (office)
414-352-7495 (FAX)
Email Doris Appelbaum
Appelbaum's Resume' Professionals, Inc.