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The Benefits of Customized Cover Letters

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While we haven’t done an official survey, We’d have to estimate that between fifty and sixty percent of our clients ask us if they need a cover letter, or tell us that they don’t want to purchase one because they can write a short note themselves.

For these clients we always have an analogy prepared, where we tell them that they should think of their resume and cover letter as two parts of a whole, and that whole is their marketing pamphlet or business card. Would they give someone a business card with no contact information? Would they send out a marketing brochure with no information describing what the purpose is? Of course not!

Then we explain that sending out a professional resume without a matching cover letter is like sending out only half a business card. The complete package is much more effective in producing resumes.

Studies have shown that well over 50% of hiring managers say that they consider the cover letter a vital piece of information, and tend to be wary of applicants who don’t send one, or who send a poorly-written one.

The cover letter is frequently the first piece of communication a hiring manager has with an applicant. Poor grammar, typos, lack of understanding of the business letter format, and confusing or vague information can influence how a hiring manager feels about an applicant before the resume is even read. A professionally written letter demonstrates that the candidate has taken the time to do the best job possible in obtaining an interview, a trait that indicates that person will do a good job if hired.

As important as these reasons are for using a professional cover letter, there is still one more reason: matching the client’s skill sets to the particular job. No two positions are the same, even in the same field or with the same job title. Clients need to be prepared to customize their job application package to their desired position. The resume cannot (and should not) be easily changed for different jobs; but the cover letter is made to do just that.

A writer, or a client, can add or subtract information, emphasize key points, and even include additional information that didn’t fit on the resume. We always tell our clients, the resume is the outline of your background, and the cover letter is the document that you use to emphasize what’s important in that background to a prospective employer particularly at mid management to senior management level.

In particular the cover letter allows quantifiable results and successes to be highlighted to the hiring manager, greatly increasing the candidate’s chances of securing an interview.

To summarize:

1. A professional cover letter increases the number of interviews received.

2. Well-written cover letters make the applicant stand out by showcasing particular strengths, and can be customized to match individual job descriptions.

3. Professional cover letters match the tone and style of the resume; indicate that the applicant has vast experience of professional business practices, and a proven track record of success.

C2005 Ronan Kennedy, President of Professional-Resumes.com
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The Benefits of Customized Cover Letters
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