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Susan M. Heathfield

Cover Letters Matter - Trust Me

By December 20, 2013

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Are you listening when I suggest that job searching during the holidays is smart? Employers are hiring and competition is much thinner due to job searchers who believe the myths about holiday job searching.

Talking to the wife of an employee who is job searching recently, I found myself emphasizing the importance of making the review of her application materials easy for the employer. When an employer spends only a few minutes reviewing each resume and cover letter, connecting what she has to offer with what the employer needs, is critical.

Job searching specialists and career counselors traditionally recommend that job applicants write a customized cover letter to accompany each resume sent to an employer. Unfortunately, I've noticed a trend lately of these same experts telling applicants that they can skip this step in the application process. They're wrong.

As an employer, a customized cover letter ought to matter to you. A cover letter saves you time, connects the applicant's relevant experience to your advertised job, and provides insight into the candidate's skills, characteristics, and experience.

Additionally, a well-crafted cover letter give you your first look at the applicant's writing and communication skills. Rarely reviewed by professionals, the way resumes usually are these days, the cover letter from your applicant is much more likely a mirror of your applicant's skills.

Look for a cover letter from a good applicant. I read three recently that were painstakingly customized and tied the candidates' skills directly to the advertised openings. What a pleasure! All three candidates came back for second round interviews, too. See Why Resume Cover Letters Matter to Employers and Cover Letter Red Flags for Employers for cover letter review tips.

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