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I want to see you land your dream job!

To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled several lists to help you as you enter the land of The Job Interview. In Part I, we’ll explore tips to make your cover letter stand out from the rest. I hope these guides serve you well.

 Write an Effective Cover Letter

Think of your cover letter like a business card—it makes a first impression. It should pique a prospective employer’s interest in you. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience into the context of the position for which you’re applying. Another way to think of your cover letter is like a movie trailer. It provides a preview of coming attractions, so to speak, without revealing everything. Just enough to make you want to buy that ticket, right? Success or Failure

Tip #1: Keep It Brief

Your cover letter demonstrates that you are an effective communicator. Instead of elaborating what is already listed in your resume, highlight a few key points that will make a recruiter or hiring manager want to learn more about you. Write a brief introduction, then jump right into what you have to offer and why you should be hired for this position. Aim for three well-written paragraphs.

Tip #2: Keep It Relevant

In highlighting what you have to offer, focus on three key factors: what got you into this field, the accomplishments that exemplify why you are the best candidate, and why you are an excellent fit for their organization. Be sure to include a couple of sentences on what strikes you about their specific company.

Tip #3: Personalize

Make sure your cover letter speaks directly to the position for which you are applying. This means that you must write a new cover letter for each position for which you apply. An employer can spot a generic cover letter, so don’t do it or you will risk having your letter and resume tossed into the trash—the infamous File 13! Do not address your letter to “Whom It May Concern.” Do a little digging. A quick web search should surface the name of the person to send your cover letter to. If not–pick up the phone and call. Your prospective employer will appreciate your attention to detail.

Tip #4: Close Effectively

Be confident and assertive. Close your letter with something like this: “After you have reviewed my resume, please contact me to schedule an interview,” or, “I am excited about the prospect of working for you and would be pleased to discuss this opportunity at your earliest convenience. I will call next week to follow up with you.”

Closing comments, such as “I hope you enjoy my resume,” or “If you feel that I am a good fit, let me know” are weak. They don’t resonate with confidence. You know you’re a good fit, so SHOW it with a strong finish!

 Tip #5: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

I cannot stress the importance of proofreading. Proofreading will ensure that your tone is appropriate. It will also ensure that you’ve touched on key aspects of your background and experience as they relate to the job position. Finally, proofreading will ensure that you catch silly grammatical errors and typos. After you’re satisfied with your letter, ask someone else to review it. Why? Because another person will often find things that you overlooked, such as missing words. Yes, missing words. When we proof our own work, we unconsciously “fill in” words as we read, because we know what we intended to write.

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I hope these tips put you one step closer to landing your dream career. Do you have any tips you’d like to share, or would you like to keep talking about this topic? If so, please send me a note, using my comment section below or follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD

And stay tuned for Part II in the series. Now that you have a killer cover letter, will your resume match your expectations? I’ll help you make sure it does with my resume tips! Until then:  Walk worthy my friends!

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