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Why the Cover Letter Matters So Much
There is so much emphasis today placed on good communication – no matter what it is you are trying to achieve – that a great cover letter is an opportunity that should not be missed to show how eloquent and how naturally intelligent you are. Especially when you are applying for a job. Let's face it, putting a resume together is hard enough as it is, and some of the time you may not have exactly the credentials you need to be certain that you can land your dream job, no matter how much you know you can excel at it. But there is a secret that you ought to know: you can blow any potential job interviewer away with an outstanding cover letter.
If you think that sounds like a bunch of baloney, consider this: your resume is the thing that gets read last. It gets put onto a heap with a collection of others, which for a really great job may number in the hundreds. It is only in the evaluation phase at the end that it will get considered at all. The key when you are applying for any job therefore is to get onto that shortlist. Your cover letter, if it is succinct and to the point – and if it can offer enough tantalizing information about what it is you are capable of doing – can ensure you make that shortlist. In the exact same way, if your cover letter doesn't match up, it may shock you to know that shortlist may continue to be forever elusive.
The Cover Letter as Phone Call
Think of it as a written version of an introductory phone call. If you only had one minute on the phone with the person who decides whether or not they are going to hire you, what would you tell them? What would be the three or four pieces of information you know that you absolutely would like them to know about you, that you think could ensure their interest in meeting you? You certainly wouldn't start by reading your resume to them. Besides the fact that you would need substantially more time in order to do that, you can certainly imagine how boring it would be for the listener to hear a list of achievements and goals, declared verbally.
Instead, that phone call would focus on igniting a spark with the person offering that job. It would be designed to get them believing that they would like to meet you, like to know you and consequently it will bias them in favor of hiring you. Your cover letter is exactly the same thing. You should know that often times, the requirements listed for a job can be overlooked if the person hiring believes that you are the sort of person that will add value to their company. At the end of the day, skills can be learned and often they can be learned quickly. Hiring someone with those exact skills from day one is often considered to be second prize when compared to finding personalities that are exciting to work with.
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