Posts Tagged ‘Cover Letters’

The Importance of a Cover Letter

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

There are many opinions regarding the importance or relevance of a cover letter in today’s job search. Rather than wonder whether the additional effort should be invested to create this very valuable introductory letter, it is in your best interest to err on the side of caution! It is unlikely you will have the inside scoop as to whether a particular recruiter or employer is looking for a cover letter so don’t take the risk. If there is an organization that may not have an interest in a cover letter they will not choose to eliminate a potential candidate for providing one but you can be assured those expecting a cover letter will likely see it as a very good reason for elimination.

A Cover Letter Can Be a Powerful Selling Tool provides information on the importance of a cover letter and details regarding the content necessary to ensure you create the opportunity to sell yourself as a potential candidate for the position your are seeking.

There are five types of cover letters for consideration:

Advertisement – your response to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for a specific, advertised position

Recruiter – an introduction to a recruiter to sell yourself as valuable potential candidate to their organization

Direct Mail – target a specific company or organization to sell yourself as an interested, highly qualified candidate

Networking – share key contacts to establish credibility and a genuine connection to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for an available position or introduction to a company

Pain – seize the opportunity to portray yourself as proactive, looking for new challenges and ready to tackle critical business issues in this introduction to solicit a position which will allow you to resolve their pain

Check out these Sample Cover Letter Samples from Elite Resumes.


A Cover Letter Can Be A Powerful Selling Tool

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Converse Lodge SealThe need to accompany a professional resume with a cover letter is as basic as offering a handshake, signing a card, saying thank you or the greeting at the beginning or end of a phone call. All may be taken for granted as a common courtesy, but you can be assured that by omitting any of the above, you will miss an opportunity to generate a positive and lasting impression. A cover letter sets the stage by enticing the reader with a personal connection and a professional introduction that is expected when submitting a resume. A generic letter addressed to the “resident” or a cover letter addressed “to whom it may concern” or “Senior Marketing Manager” is no match for one which is personally addressed.

A cover letter can be a powerful selling tool if it is professional, personally addressed, contains pertinent information to the company and position and includes highlights of your accomplishments. All are criteria for each type of cover letter. Here are a few more points to ensure your cover letter is a powerful selling tool:

  • Format your cover letter consistently with your resume regarding the font type and header
  • Include full contact information as found in your resume
  • Adjust right and left margins alike and leave consistent white space at top and bottom
  • Check for spelling or grammatical errors
  • Obtain a contact name and full address for the recipient
  • Clearly introduce yourself and the reason you are submitting your resume
  • Highlight accomplishments from your resume that are pertinent to the position
  • Do not include information that is not available for validation in your resume
  • Note information about the company to reinforce your interest and due diligence
  • Choose industry/job related keywords that are current
  • Advise if you are willing to relocate
  • Recheck for spelling or grammatical errors

For further information contact Martin Buckland, Certified Professional Resume Writer.


Soft Skills In Your Cover Letter

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Day 01.01 A new yearrrrrrr !Are you fully articulating your soft skills in your cover letter? Hiring criteria for some employers may revolve more  around hard skills, specific areas of expertise and relevant degrees, but there are many organizations interested in those soft skills relative to their corporate culture and conducive to an established team of employees.

A BNET article, Why I Hired Someone Who Showed Up Uninvited as told to Joseph Conway by Michael Shore, CEO, FLS Energy is an excellent read from the employers perspective on hiring practices. Vision, enthusiasm, resiliency, ethic, gutsy; these were the skills that not only secured the position but led to a key, long term role within the company.

The importance of soft skills should never be underestimated, nor the significance of a cover letter. Your professional resume will list both your hard skills and soft skills but it is your cover letter that provides the ultimate tool to sell your soft skills and many employers are interested in hiring the whole package and not just a degree.

Are you customizing your cover letter to the position you are seeking and selling your soft skills? Contact Elite Resumes to obtain a free critique of your cover letter from an executive career management professional to ensure you secure your next job interview.


Cover Letters

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

job-search If you are applying for a job, your professional resume must be accompanied by a professional cover letter. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to sell yourself directly to the hiring professional or recruiter. Unlike your resume, your cover letter will be customized for each position you apply for.

A “Direct” cover letter is the type of cover letter used to apply for a specific job posting. Directions on submitting your resume and cover letter will be included with the posting and must be followed to a T. Remember most hiring professionals are looking for a reason to eliminate candidates. Don’t give them one.

Some job postings will divulge the hiring company and some include only the recruiting company. And there are many that are posted by various recruiters as well as the hiring company. Invest the time and effort to fully research the position. Sometimes it’s as simple as a google search for the first “line” of the job description to discover the details. 

Anyone can submit a cover letter and a resume but if you want to position yourself above the competition, do your due diligence in discovering the details and then incorporate the information in your cover letter. Did you uncover a contact name? Is the company renowned for their corporate social responsibility? Have they been awarded a Top 50 employer? What reason do you have for wanting to work for them? If you are responding to a recruiter, does the recruiting company have a well established reputation or maybe an international clientele? Everyone will notice your extra effort and appreciate the acknowledgment or a genuine compliment.

Your cover letter is a selling document as is your resume so sell yourself! Highlight key accomplishments from your resume in your cover letter. Your goal is to impress the reader! You included quantifiable proof of your achievements in your resume, don’t omit it in your cover letter.

Do you have a tag line? Don’t hesitate to keep the readers attention right to the end of your cover letter by adding it as a P.S.,  “My tenacity, diligence and determination will drive your business to new heights. “


Pay Attention to Detail!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Attention-to-detail?If you don’t pay attention to detail when sending out critical documents such as your cover letter and your resume, what message do you think that sends to an employer? If your lack of attention to detail results in spelling or grammatical mistakes in your cover letter or resume do you think an employer will want to hire you and pay you to make more mistakes? Why should an employer put their faith in you to represent their company when you are not able to submit a cover letter or resume free of errors? These are documents that have the potential to open up career opportunities for you and you haven’t made the effort to pay attention to detail. 

Review the entire resume and cover letter and pay attention to detail. Yes, we know the cover letter you are submitting is a template for various job applications as your experience and accomplishments aren’t going to change. But it should not look like a fill in the applicable blanks with job title and date cover letter. Proof the entire document and make the effort to research the company you are applying to and note your enthusiasm about  joining a top 50 best employer. Although your accomplishments don’t change, you may have the option of selecting ones with more relevance to the position. Carefully review the instructions for submitting your cover letter and resume. Who, where, what and when?

Recently I received a cover letter dated June 2nd that should have been dated August 18th and the position that was referenced was spelt wrong. Do you think a decision maker would consider this person as a potential candidate?

Don’t miss out on an opportunity. Pay attention to detail and you will be recognized as a viable candidate throughout your job search.




Recruiter Cover Letter

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

If you are sending out your resume, it must be accompanied by a cover letter! There are five main types of cover letters; advertising, direct, pain, networking and recruiter. Your cover letter enables you to customize your information appropriately for each submission of your resume. Each type of cover letter requires unique information from the other.

The recruiter cover letter is perhaps the most general with regards to your talents and skills as you are not applying for a specific job or organization so it is imperative that you sell yourself to the recruiter as a potential candidate for a variety of positions and companies. As with your resume, always concentrate on your accomplishments. If you don’t impress the recruiter you will not get the opportunity to interview with their clients.

A recruiter will most likely be filling positions for more than one client, many of which could be hiring in a variety of locations. Are you willing to relocate? This could be a key factor in a recruiters decision so be sure to include details if you are willing to consider relocating.

Be sure to note that you are interested in current or future search assignments as they may not have something for you today but you do want to be kept on file and be remembered for any future opportunities.

Sell, sell, sell!

“I am an expert! I’m a problem solver! I have an impecable track record for delivering results! Your client will be impressed! Please call me to discuss my further accomplishments, too many to note on my resume.”

Selling yourself is one key point that is common to every type of cover letter.  


The Pain Cover Letter

Monday, May 25th, 2009

accelerating-painThere are different types of cover letters and the “pain” cover letter is one type that has evolved as a sign of the times. It is a very specific and powerful document addressing particular issues relating to a company experiencing problems or pain and relating it to your particular realm of expertise. As a professional sales person, it could be a company that is experiencing a drop in market share or a reduction in sales. For a Production Engineer, it could be a company experiencing continuous break downs on their manufacturing line. Once the issues have been identified and if you feel confident in resolving the problem, write a detailed letter to the President, CEO or senior executive with the responsibility for that particular function and issue. Outline how you see their issues and present a brief synopsis on how your skills and knowledge can rectify their problems. Be detailed giving examples of how you have increased market share, driven sales or realigned production line operations with minimal investment from your previous employers.

The pain cover letter shows you are proactive, someone looking for new challenges and ready to tackle critical business issues and it is an intriguing way of luring a potential employer into calling you for an interview. They will want to know in greater detail what contributions you will make.

You will need to go hunting for these opportunities, staying current with news and business magazines to discover the companies that are experiencing trouble. Then position yourself as the chief problem solver and go in with gusto explaining how you will tackle their dilemma.

The pain cover letter offers another perspective to your job search. It works. Make it work for you!     


Cover Letter – Why It’s So Important

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Your cover letter is an important element to marketing your resume! Getting your resume noticed is your objective and a compelling, well written cover letter will do just that. 

Unlike your resume, cover letters are written in the personal pronoun and there are a variety of types, including:

Recruiter – Networking – Direct Mail – Advert – Pain

Click on the following to find an example of a Direct Cover Letter:

 Direct Cover Letter

For examples of other cover letters,

Seize the opportunity to exude confidence and sell your skills with an enticing, personalized cover letter. More importantly, don’t forget to ASK FOR THE JOB!



Resumes, Cover Letters and Your Job Search

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

make-it-professionalThe competition is fierce! HR professionals are receiving more resumes and cover letters than ever before. Will your cover letter and resume get noticed if it is 1 of 1,000?

With so many resumes being submitted for available positions the goal of all HR professionals or Recruiters is to reduce that number to a manageable list of viable candidates. A common first step in this process is to electronically scan your resume for keywords. If you are applying for an executive position and the company wants a candidate with an engineering degree, they might scan for “P.Eng” or “MBA”.  For a sales and marketing position they may scan for “P&L”. Have you included the necessary keywords in your resume to keep you in the running?

Okay, you’ve passed the scanner but is your resume free of spelling mistakes or gramatical errors? Will it exceed the expectations for this professional document, easy to ready, bulleted points, standard font, white paper, consistent page borders, no excess white space? If your resume doesn’t look impressive, neither do you. 

The next step in the few seconds of attention that your resume will be given is to discover your attributes and achievements. If they don’t jump out at the reader, no one is going to spend the time to go looking for them. Clear, concise, quantifiable and impressive results will be noticed. Do not waste your time with vague comments such as, “saved the company money”.  

If your resume has generated enough interest at this point to put you above the crowd, you are one of the few but you could still miss out on the job interview if you have neglected to include some pertinent information. If you have missed including the dates anywhere in your resume you will generate a negative impression as it will be perceived that you have something to hide. Finally, the most critical information of all is your contact details. There are still those who are not comfortable putting their phone number on their resume and still many who have not realized the significance of an online presence and do not have an email or LinkedIn address. If you are not a phone call away or a google away, you may have come this far only to be dropped out of the running.

Your resume and cover letter are the most critical components of your job search! You need them to get in the door and if you don’t get it right, you could be missing out on the job opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t take the risk, call a professional resume writer.              


Resume and Cover Letter

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

resume-photoAs far back as you can remember in your job search you needed a resume and cover letter. Today, despite what you hear about Web 2.0, social media, online job sites; despite what you hear about the current economy, job losses, record unemployment rates, a 1.3% job growth rate and despite what you hear about developing a personal brand, you still need a resume and cover letter!

Your resume is the basis for all of your job search actions and most often you will not send it without a cover letter.  Yes, gone are the days of simply applying for a specific advertised position, hand delivering or mailing your resume and cover letter, followed up with a thank you letter and then sitting back to wait for the phone to ring. Today, you need to do this and a whole lot more if you are going to get noticed in an extremely competitive job market!  You will need your resume perfected and ready at the click of a button on your keyboard. Your success in today’s job search market will also be influenced by whether or not you can answer YES to the following questions:

Do you have a significant google ranking? Do you have a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Monster, Workopolis, Naymz, Xing, Plaxo…….? Are you involved in professional networking organizations? Have you told all of your family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, social club members and anyone else you can think of that you are looking for a job? Are you on Facebook? Have you established your own unique personal brand?

Much more is needed to succeed in today’s job search  market but the actual foundation is still your resume and cover letter!

Contact us today for a free resume critique.


Professional References

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

You have presented an impressive cover letter, an enticing and professionally written resume and you are contacted for the job interview.  Once there, you are nothing less than brilliant during your interview in front of a panel of three!  So why was that the last time you heard from them?  One of the most common reasons a highly qualified job applicant is eliminated as a candidate is a BAD JOB REFERENCE!

Potential employers are going to check your references so be sure your due dilligence goes beyond the cover letter, resume and job interview and secure those positive job references before you apply for a new  position.

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and fearless networker, I never miss an opportunity to get a reference.  Here is just one of the many references I have received:

“On relocating to Canada from the UK, I realized that without employment experience in the new country I needed an all important edge to find that new career. My old résumé was out-dated and not tailored to the employment requirements in Canada.

I researched and contacted several résumé writing services but Elite Résumés from the very outset was different. You treated me professionally and with integrity but most importantly you treated my time as a valuable commodity.

The all important interview process where your expertise and experience left no career stone unturned, was a process where I surprisingly learned a great deal more about myself. The great attention to detail and effort you applied resulted in a résumé where all my experience and skills were clearly specified far beyond anything I expected.

After the résumé writing process, I discovered the real value of choosing Elite Resumes. The numerous phone calls to check on my progress and always being ready to offer valuable assistance and advice were greatly appreciated, especially from someone with vast experience and a network of human resource organizations and contacts. You referred me to a network group where I found the job notice for the position I secured.

It was this advice and knowledge combined with the résumé, which led me down the path to new employment in Canada, meeting many of my career expectations in five short weeks. I feel sure this would not have been possible without the services and added assistance you offered me.”

— J Richmond


Cover Letter Survey

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

One of my recent posts, “You Need a Cover Letter!” was based on personal experience and knowledge.  If you had any doubts of the importance of a cover letter or are one of many job seekers who believe a formal cover letter is no longer neccessary, read on.

A new study conducted by an independent research firm and developed by OfficeTeam shows 93% of senior executives feel that a cover letter is valuable when evaluating prospective job candidates.

Dave Willmer, executive director of OfficeTeam said, “Submitting a resume without a cover letter is like not shaking hands when meeting someone for the first time.” “Those who aren’t including cover letters with their resume are missing an opportunity to make a good first impression and set themselves apart from other job applicants.”

A meeting without a greeting, a bagel without cream cheese, a roller coaster without an incline, prime rib without horseradish, a shirt without trousers, salt without pepper, a resume without a cover letter?  It’s just not right!


You Need a Cover Letter!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

A resume should never be sent without a cover letter. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself, show an interest in the company or position you are seeking, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you.

Usually your cover letter is the first contact you have with a potential employer so be sure it is well written and reflects your knowledge of the employer’s needs.

There are three parts to a cover letter, the introduction, the body and the closing. The introduction should identify the position you are applying for, your source of information and describe your interest in the position and the organization.

The body of your cover letter should relay your understanding of the position and how your qualifications make you an ideal candidate. Include examples of skills, qualities and experience that will contribute to the organization. Do not simply repeat what is in your resume.

In closing, your objective is to secure an interview so clearly state how this will happen. You can request an interview or include a statement of your intent to follow up with a phone call.

P.S.  Don’t forget to sign it!


Do you follow-up after your job interview?

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Resumes and cover letters aren’t the only documents that could have a positive influence in securing your next career move.  Follow-up letters after your job interview are just as important. They can position you in the drivers seat!

As a Career Management Professional, I am constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t recognize the significance and potential impact in writing a follow-up or thank-you letter.

For the candidate, follow-up letters are an easy way to convey information that may require additional emphasis or was overlooked during the stressful interview and provides another excellent chance to make an impression. From the other side of the desk, it shows a potential employer that the candidate carries through. At the final decision time, I know it’s always noted which candidates have followed through and which ones have not.

At the end of the interview be sure to obtain a business card from everyone who interviews you. Do not be afraid to ask for one, it shows you are confident! Immediately after the interview, while everything is fresh in your mind note one thing you would like to make a further reference to on the back of each interviewers business card. This will be a great resource for you when you write your follow-up letter.

Your follow-up letter should be brief, precise and professional. Remember the KIS principle, Keep It Simple. The first paragraph should thank the interviewer for his or her time. The second paragraph is your opportunity to further sell yourself, confidently stating what an outstanding candidate you are and why. Paragraph three wraps it up with a final thank-you.

Always snail mail your letters. Use good quality white paper, no flowered notepaper or thank-you card, you need to show your professionalism. A follow-up letter must be timely, so don’t wait more than three days after the interview to send it, any longer could portray you as a procrastinator and you are probably not aware of when the final decision making process will occur.

If you promised an interviewer additional information, an email is a great way to transmit that information quickly and it’s one more opportunity to “follow-up”!!!


Are cover letters read?

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

There is a misconception about cover letters. Many job seekers don’t bother to send cover letters because they assume they won’t be read. Wrong. 

I know that some employers and recruiters prefer to go straight to the resume and ignore the cover letter. However, you cannot assume that will always be true. Over the years as a Resume Writer, I have watched the importance of a cover letter grow. Many people who read resumes regularly find that a clear, concise and well-written cover letter makes their job easier. When written succinctly, a cover letter answers most, if not all the questions that are typically on the mind of someone who is about to read your resume: 

¬         Why is this person sending me this resume? 

¬         What is this person’s personal brand, and background? 

¬         What could this person do for me or someone I know? 

¬         What action do I need to take? 

A cover letter serves as a brief introduction to your resume, written in the personal pronoun. It informs the reader why you are sending the resume, for example, applying for a job, asking for an informational interview, or to discuss potential opening. It emphasizes your assets, attributes and business competencies that are most relevant to the position and corporate culture. A strategically written cover letter should position yourself favourably in the mind of the decision maker.  

Most cover letters are abysmal. They are either so brief and vague as to be useless, or too long and jam packed full of information that is irrelevant that the recipient won’t read. I am a great believer in having my client’s fully prepared. It could be the tipping point in deciding if to call for the interview.



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