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So you’ve got your college degree (or you’re working on it). You’ve got the confidence and skill to be an outstanding employee in your field. You’ve got the drive, the ambition, the goals, and the energy.
Now you just need the attention of employers.
The most important tool in your arsenal for catching the interest of your next boss is the notoriously important – and sometimes tricky – cover letter. As soon as you’ve expressed interest in a job, the employer starts asking, “Why should I hire you?” Your cover letter lets you begin answering that question at the outset – if you do it right. If you do it wrong, you miss an important opportunity and may lose out as a candidate.
What author Nicholas Sparks has said about query letters in the publishing industry holds true for your cover letter. It’s your sales pitch. “It’s the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It’s that important, so don’t mess it up.”
So how do you avoid messing it up? More importantly, how do you nail the perfect cover letter that will let employers know what a catch you are, and get you in the door so you can wow them with your interview?
It’s hard work. It’s a lot to think about. We feel your pain. Writing a great cover letter may feel like just one more time-consuming, stressful component to an already time-consuming, stressful job search. But although you may have spent countless hours and brain cells on your job search, remember that with each new application, this is the first time this particular employer is “seeing you.” They don’t care how many letters you’ve already had to write, how long and hard you’ve been working on finding a job – they just want to know what you can offer to them as an employee.
As tired as you may be, you simply can’t afford to take shortcuts through a single cover letter.
The WGU Alumni & Career Services Career Café webinar series recently tackled writing a killer cover letter. Alumni & Career Services mentor Jessica Mitchell goes into great detail about these tips and more, as well as exploring the different styles and types of cover letters and helping you determine which approach is the right fit for your job search.
Check out the free “Cover Letters” webinar.
What are your cover letter tips and tricks? What do you make sure to include in every cover letter? Do you have an awesome intro sentence or a pitfall you’ve learned to avoid? Share it with us in the comments below!
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