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Resume Cover Letter Format - Write Better Cover Letters

Ask yourself a question. “What is the most important document when searching for a job, your resume or your resume cover letter? Now whilst most people would acknowledge that they are both important many people would put the resume above the cover letter. I for one would challenge that point of view. You see your resume is really a chronological list of the qualifications you have achieved and the positions that you have held in any particular field and yes, this list is essential but also lifeless on its own. Now on the other hand your resume cover letter is pretty much the only tool that you have to bring your resume to life and make it jump out and grab the reader’s attention – that is why, if not more important it is at least as important as the resume itself. So how do you go about making sure you have the best cover letter available to you?

Firstly you could go to a professional writer and get them to write you a resume cover letter. Now while this will, providing you chose the correct writer, present you with a fairly instant product designed to stand out from the crowd, it can be expensive.

Next you can buy one of the many resources available to help you prepare your own cover letter and these will range from books teaching the skills of putting together a good resume cover letter, to software programmes that will prepare a customised resume letter template for you to complete. Providing you do not use the free templates that you can find on the internet (they are very basic and disjointed) both of these resources are well worth you investigating

Lastly, you can learn to hone your own writing skills and prepare your own resume and cover letter which will have the added benefit of assisting you later with things like follow up letters. So what do you need to learn in order to write your own winning cover letters?

To start let’s call up some statistics. You may think that all you have to do is knock together a quick resume attach it to a cover letter and your job is done, well think again. According to many surveys your resume cover letter will have around 15 – 20 seconds to catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read on, but that’s only part of it. That time span is the maximum your cover letter will have, if your letter starts badly you probably will not get time to recover and your resume will probably be binned in around 10 seconds, more quickly if yours happens to be the 20th resume cover letter he or she has just read!

With this in mind you must make absolutely certain that your cover letter style and design is very straightforward and straight to the point. Do not try to be clever and do not use fancy fonts or way out colours. Remember that your cover letter should start by emphasising not what you have done in the past, but exactly what you will be able to achieve for your prospective employer tomorrow, so be as specific as you can about detail. Always remember that your resume cover letter is the only place where you can highlight “what you can do for them”. So If for example you are applying for a sales position, take some time to look at their market and tell them how you would be able to immediately target certain areas and establish sales to start covering your salary. Employers like the idea of taking on people who already have an idea of where they are going and your cover letter is the perfect vehicle to drive that point home.

Try to home in on the questions that you think they will most want answering, whether it’s increased sales, better quality control or improved customer relationships your resume cover letter is the place to let them know that you have the answers. Whatever the industry you are targeting, you want to pre sell yourself and leave them with little choice other than to at least call you in and hear what you have to say in person.

So to reiterate, whether you go to a professional resume writer, sit down and write your resume cover letter yourself or use software to produce a resume cover letter format that works, your cover letter must be spot on in order for you to rise above the crowd. Too many people make the mistake of simply presenting a CV with a quick note of introduction, this will not work. So invest some time and if necessary a little money and make sure that when a hiring manager picks up your resume, they will read it through to the end and get you in for an interview, which as we know is the first step to securing that perfect job.