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Three Reasons Why Your Cover Letter Is Not Worth the Paper It’s Printed On

9 Feb, 2012

Three Reasons Why Your Cover Letter Is Not Worth the Paper It’s Printed On

So, you think a cover letter is not important? Well, you would be wrong. A cover letter is a vital part of conducting your search. It is part of your career search materials. Not only does your cover letter demonstrate to the reader that you can present information in an organized and cogent manner, but a well-written cover letter can help you share information that is not contained on the resume. You should always want to present the best possible ‘face’ to your job search. A strong and grammatically correct cover letter in conjunction with your results-focused resume will help to ensure that you stand apart from the crowd.

Why isn’t your cover letter working for you? Read on and find out what some of the issues might be:

You talk about negative life situations: The purpose of your cover letter is not to share with the reader trials and tribulations of your life, or how hard things have been. Throughout the search, and in all interactions, whether written or verbal you should remain positive. Hiring managers are interested in how you are going to add value in a new environment; they are not interested in reading about negative experiences. Similarly, issues related to your health or the health of others in your life should not be mentioned in a letter or during the interview process. The only reason to reference a health matter is if it directly impacts your ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

Your cover has grammatical and spelling errors: No matter how qualified you are for a position, if your cover letter has errors, you will likely not be considered for the role. Proper spelling, sentence structure, and grammar all play a very big part in the analysis process. A cover letter that is well written conveys to the reader that you are organized, detailed, and understand how to communicate in writing. No doubt you will write internal communications in your role. Even something as simple as an email needs to be constructed professionally. Presenting a document with errors is not an indication of professionalism.

It’s not a hook for the resume: Content for the cover letter should include things that demonstrate your ability to perform in a new role. You want to engage the reader in the letter. Highlight things in the cover letter that are tied to the resume. Do not repeat things verbatim, but rather use the cover as a means to provide compelling details that are connected to the resume. If you speak more than one language for example, reference the language and in what capacity you used the skill. If the company has a global presence, you can tie this information to how you will add value for their business efforts.

The cover doesn’t demonstrate your unique value proposition: Your unique value proposition is the benefit your background will provide to the company. It describes who you are and what makes you unique. Make sure you draft a clear statement – how you can overcome challenges. Differentiate yourself from the competition. Know your strengths and convey them in your cover letter to help establish your unique value proposition.

If you are going to include a cover letter and you better – make your cover letter work for you and not against you. You can even tell a short story in a cover letter, as long as it illustrates your expertise. Happy writing!

Debra Wheatman

Want to learn more about this career expert? Check out a full list of career articles, contact information, and biographical info by visiting her Career Experts member profile. LEARN MORE

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