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Do You Need Help Writing A Winning Cover Letter?
Your cover letter is critical to your success. It sets the tone. It is read before your resume and includes vital information about you that every potential employer needs. If you don't have a cover letter, or if you have one that is poorly written, you're setting yourself up for failure. Knowing the crucial elements of a cover letter is imperative to getting in doors and moving your candidacy forward.
Your cover letter must function as a roadmap leading the reader from start to finish. It must be created with one thought in mind ? to get you noticed. It must invite, it must compel, it must drive the reader to a very specific conclusion: 'This candidate is qualified; in fact, not only qualified, but the best fit for the position.'
Your resume will then be read. If your resume is as powerful as your cover letter, an interview will be scheduled. So how should a winning cover letter be constructed?
There are a number of ways to actually begin the letter. You could pose a question, you could make an extraordinary statement to grab the reader's attention, or you can quote someone famous. Whatever you do, make sure it is appropriate to the advertised position and to the skills you possess. Along with this opening, you want to note the specific job to which you are responding.
Your letter then needs to state your worth, your applicable accomplishments and their relationship to the responsibilities of the position. This can be a couple of paragraphs, but keep in mind that less is more as long as significant content has been included. It's critical that your cover letter be at most one page.
The final paragraph is your call to action. It is where you state your follow-up plan. This is where you create continuity to ensure your success.
Make sure you do not include any salary information in your cover letter. It will either disqualify you or lock you in to compensation that does not match your worth. If the job ad requests your salary information, you can always state that it is negotiable. While not being specific, doing this will keep you in the running.
Regardless of your field of endeavor or level of experience, you can write an attention-grabbing cover letter which, in conjunction with a powerful resume, will grant you access to the right opportunities and lead you to a successful job search conclusion.
Copyright © 2005 TopDog Group All rights reserved.
David Richter is a recognized authority in career coaching and job search support. He has spent many years in recruitment, staffing, outplacement, counseling psychology and career management spanning most industries and professions. David founded TopDog Group in response to the needs of job candidates to have a higher quality of career coaching and support available on the Internet. David understands the mechanisms for success. He has formulated specific strategies anyone can use to secure interviews and receive offers. His extensive knowledge and experience sets David apart in this field, allowing him to offer a wealth of information and a vast array of tools, resources and strategies not found anywhere else. He has shown countless job seekers how to differentiate themselves and leverage their potential to the highest possible level, making a real difference in their careers. David holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. David's website address is: http://www.procareercoach.com
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Benefits of Maintaining a Career Portfolio
Have you ever tried to contact a past employer only to discover they are no longer in existence or your former manager has moved on and been replaced by someone else? Of course, if you are an avid networker this shouldn't be much of a problem when it comes time to provide proof of your experience, education and accomplishments. A portfolio of your career should be developed and maintained using all documentation of your career history in order to overcome any problems that could arise in proving any aspects of your career. It should also include your most up-to-date resume which will be based on the contents of your portfolio. Include documents pertaining to your education including continuing education such as diplomas and certifications. Have any of your past managers sent memos or emails to you or your colleagues mentioning any of your accomplishments? Were your accomplishments published in the company newsletter, local newspaper or a trade magazine? Annual reviews, award certificates, and documents or articles recognizing your contributions to projects and/or business growth are proof of your accomplishments and major contributions. Be sure to clip the articles, print the emails, save the memos and add them to your portfolio. Document volunteer experience you have gained. Although you didn't receive compensation from volunteer experience, you gained some kind of experience and maybe even recognition for your efforts. Were you able to help an organization overcome a major hurdle that hampered their mission? Did you provide assistance to the members of an organization? Were you instrumental in developing new marketing methods to spread news about the mission? Were you instrumental in the expansion of the organization? Anything that can document your career history could prove to be valuable in your career advancement or job search. In the event you are unable to make contact with a former manager or provide up-to-date contact information to a potential employer, your career portfolio could serve as a means of proving your value to the potential employer. Don't take your career lightly. Document your career and maintain your portfolio. Your children and children's children will also thank you in years to come because they will have proof of your accomplishments and the mark you made in history, too.
Resume Writing Dos and Donts
Do these things Include your full name - don't use nicknames or abbreviations Use a telephone number that you can always answer - use a cell phone if possible or make sure there is an answering machine at the listed phone number Use bullet points to highlight information - it is much easier for an employer to absorb relevant information while scanning your résumé Print your résumé and cover letter on high quality paper - when printing your résumé you should use paper with at least 50% cotton content Be concise and get to the point - say what you need to say and nothing more Use action words and descriptive phrases - be creative when trying to get your point across using as few words as possible Target your résumé - address your résumé to the position you are applying for to show that you are really interested in working for that company Focus on relevant facts only - list skills, accomplishments and personality traits you know the employer is looking for List quantitative support for statements made - back up your skills and experiences with real scenarios, facts and figures Begin statements with action verbs - action verbs demonstrate your importance to the achievement or experience being described Don't do these things Have any grammatical errors - always have someone else proofread your résumé for errors and flow Have any spelling mistakes - always spell check your résumé, your contact's name, and the company's name Misrepresent your background or experience - employers oftentimes verify this information and can fire you if it is discovered that you were dishonest Fill in employment gaps with unrelated information - wait to discuss this information in person to put a positive spin on it Use lengthy paragraphs - employers notoriously skip over paragraphs in résumés Use long sentences - just like paragraphs, the reader easily skips over long sentences Use personal pronouns - keep your résumé impersonal for a more professional image Forget to list basic skills - all employers want to see that you are a team player, take charge of situations and are reliable
What Can I Do To Improve My Job-Interviewing Skills?
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