Include a cover letter with your resume

I’ve hired thousands of employees in my career. In the ‘old’ days, people who were looking for jobs mailed a cover letter and resume to a prospective employer. Although technology has changed some of the ways people apply for jobs, the basic idea of a cover letter and resume is still relevant.

Most resumes follow a format. They can be organized by the person’s skill set or experience level. Or they may focus on education or volunteer service. But they typically aren’t tailored for each specific job. That’s where a cover letter becomes important.

The point of a cover letter is to get attention in a nice way. You want the recipient to raise her/his eyebrows and say “Wow, I like this person.” It’s best to write an original letter or email to the person at the company to which you are applying. Many job seekers send the same letter with each application and it’s obvious, especially for those HR managers who review many applications. A personal, well-written cover letter will stand out and should entice the person screening the application to read further.

Do a little research on the company you are applying to. Find a couple of things you admire about the company and include them in your cover letter. Then add something interesting about yourself and a brief statement about why you would like to work for this organization. If at all possible, drop the cover letter and resume off in person.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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