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The Case for Cover Letters With Your Executive Resume

by Kim on December 15, 2014

Do I need a cover letter? That is one of the most frequently-asked questions by my clients as they embark on their job search. My answer to them is YES, as it helps build relationships, demonstrates a higher level of professionalism and shows that you are taking your job search seriously.

There are a few some circumstances in which a letter won’t be required, such as when you are applying for a position via a company’s ATS (Application Tracking System), because there frequently is no place in which to include your letter. In some cases, a position opening will direct applicants to send a resume ONLY, so it is smart to heed their directives.

However, you still want to be armed with a cover letter that further cements your brand and value proposition while telling readers what you bring to the table, why you’d be the ideal candidate and how you can solve a company’s problems, which is essentially what employers look for when trying to fill a position. When you address these points, you show the reader that you’ve done your homework and are ready to take on new challenges.

Writing a cover letter can sometimes seem more daunting than developing your resume, but if you follow the basics, you will be on your way to setting yourself apart from those who don’t take the time to include this important partner to your resume.

To get started, you’ll want to review job openings to find out exactly the type of qualifications and skills required. Once you identify a company’s needs, you can use your cover letter to tell a story and/or provide an example or two as to how you’ll be able to help solve their problems. This approach requires some dedication, as you’ll want to customize letters for the different positions you are targeting.

You also need to craft a very strong opening statement that will immediately grab the reader’s attention; you don’t want to start with a passive statement such as, “I am enclosing my resume for your review and consideration,” and just leave it at that. It is already obvious that you are doing that merely by sending a resume and cover letter!

A better way to start might be something like this – “With over 20 years of accomplishments in the Dosimetry Industry, and 10 years of combined experience in plutonium/uranium facilities, nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly operations, I believe I am the ideal candidate for (whatever the position is).” By taking this proactive approach, you immediately demonstrate your expertise and confidence, two key components to a successful cover letter.

Your cover letter should include a brief synopsis of your most relevant and/or recent positions that closely match the requirements being sought, while providing “proof” that you’ve succeeded in a certain role by highlighting measurable results. Without this, your letter won’t be doing its job, which is to further “sell” what the value you can bring to an organization.

One of the most important aspects of a cover letter, yet frequently ignored, is asking for the interview. Close your letter reiterating a few key points, maintaining a proactive, yet conversational tone and reminding them why you are the best candidate for the job.

Using a cover letter is important and frequently sets you apart from other similarly-qualified candidates that don’t use this vital tool to get a leg up on your rivalries in a very selective, competitive job market.

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