In today's working world, the competition is staggering. With over 300 million people in the USA, finding a good job is a tough chore for almost any American. National estimates show that your average American citizen can be on the job hunt for almost 9 months! With competition like that, you're going to need an edge if you want to find any kind of decent job.
Luckily, such an edge does in fact exist. Nothing in the world is guaranteed to make bosses line up and beg you to join their company, but this particular edge can seriously boost your shot at nailing a great job and rip apart your time spent unemployed. This edge, my friend, is your cover letter.
The right cover letter is like showing up to your interview in a beautiful, perfectly-fitted Armani suit. It exudes professionalism, makes you look good, and makes you appealing to employers. Now imagine that same interview, except you show up in a ratty pile of rags that look like you stole them off of a bum on the street. Imagine that interview going a little differently? That's what the wrong cover letter is like. And the worst thing is, to use no cover letter is like showing up naked! Yikes!
Now, first elimination is always the cover letter. The people who show up naked to their interviews get thrown out first, while the guys with the best, most expensive suits go much further. The better your cover letter, the better you start out. Of course you'll have to be qualified for the job and ace your real interview, but a great cover letter can GET you that interview.
So how do you write or improve your cover letter? Well, one of the best ways is to learn by example. Look at some sample cover letters that have worked for others in the past, and learn. Copying someone else's letter would be stupid, but copying someone else's technique would be genius. Why did this cover letter work? What makes it different from mine? How can I use this to improve my cover letter? These are all questions you need to ask yourself as you read others' cover letters.
And another good thing about taking this particular road is that you'll also be building important critical thinking and analysis skills. That sounds boring and difficult, but it's really not a big deal, and it looks really good to employers. Skills like that make you valuable as an employee, and that means job security.
And above all, I must stress to you that the cover letter has two essential key purposes. If it doesn't do these two jobs, it can be considered a failure. A successful cover letter needs to first outline your skills and qualifications, and also encourage an interview. The first is fairly obvious, since a cover letter is made to accompany a resume...you'd expect it to have to do with your qualifications.
The most key point of a cover letter, however, is to encourage and possibly set up an interview with the employer. A cover letter that doesn't land you an interview isn't doing its job well. Always remember that making the jump from "piece of paper" to "person sitting across from me" in the minds of your potential employers is essential. When they stop thinking of you as just another application, and start thinking of you as the person who could fill their open position...that's when the cover letter has done its job.
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To start off, you can get some free cover letter examples on this site. There you'll find all you need to learn how to write a cover letter. With that knowledge at your disposal, you can get a job faster.
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