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Covering the Bases with a Cover Letter

By Loren Smalley

It used to be that cover letters and resumes went hand in hand. When applying for a job, you wouldn’t think of sending one without the other. These days, only about half of companies require job seekers to submit a cover letter. So, should you include one with your application? The answer is yes.

Think of the cover letter as another way to sell yourself, highlighting the skills you want an employer to notice. Companies that ask for cover letters recognize the value of this important document and job applicants should too. Cover letters help make a connection between you, the job you are applying for, and the company. It is a great way to demonstrate how you would be a good fit for the company and the role that you are applying to. A good cover letter should not reiterate your resume but emphasize the professional work attributes that you can offer the company.

Those who really want to stand out from the crowd should consider this next point: Savvy job seekers can use a cover letter to show off their personality, something that is not always easy to do with a traditional resume. Describe to the company how you would be an asset to them.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • State who you are, which position interests you and why.
  • Attempt to make a connection between you and the company.
  • Let the company know how you found the position.
  • Tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for.
  • Try to include key words from the job description.
  • Think about what skills and experiences make you most qualified for the job.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your most relevant skills and experience as it relates to the job.
  • Mention that you would like the opportunity to tell them more during an interview.
  • Include your name and contact information.
  • Keep the document to one page.
  • Save it as a PDF file so anyone receiving it can open it on any device.

And the most important recommendation to get you on your way to sending out a great cover letter … Proofread!  Proofread! Proofread! Never send out a cover letter that you did not proofread for errors. Have someone else review it for you before you send it!  Now you’re ready to let your cover letter do the talking.

Loren Smalley is a Career Coach at the Ignite Career Center of JCS

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.

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