© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Amazing Resume Creator"
The resume cover letter combo should act as the one two punch that gets you the job interview. Both the resume and cover letter are important, both have to be right, both have to work on their own, and need to work even more powerfully in combination. Fortunately, that is not hard. Both the resume and cover letter are aimed at saying more or less the same thing; that you are the candidate with the training, experience and ability to solve the business problems of the open position. They both prove that point by pointing to your accomplishments. There are some subtle distinctions to the two documents what are worth noting, though.
Resume cover letters in this age of the Internet are becoming shorter and shorter than ever before. For many people, an emailed cover letter of a couple of paragraphs is about as much as they could hope to get a busy Hiring Manger to take a look at. That doesn't mean that they are any less important, though. Just as in the days of resumes coming into paper in-boxes, it's the resume cover letter which sets the tone for the reader about the candidate, and provides a chance to do some first class selling and persuading.
Resume Cover Letters Should Sell, Sell, Sell!
That, in a nutshell, is what makes the resume cover letter so different from the resume itself. Yes, the resume is a sales tool, too, but because the format is so specific and rigid, there isn't much in the way of creativity and personality to it. By contrast, the resume cover letter is a chance to be yourself, to put your tone and persona across to the hiring manager. Even more valuably, resume cover letters offer the chance to make a clear and logical sales proposition to the reader. This sales proposition ideally starts at where the reader might be mentally (wanting someone to bring up sales) then takes them, step by step towards where the candidate wants them to be (hiring this specific candidate will result in higher sales).
The way that a resume cover letter does that is simple. It simply gives examples of how the writer of that resume cover letter has encountered similar problems before in his or her career. It then relates some of the actions that the candidate took, then describes the positive results. This process is even more effective, if the writer does some research to see how the target company prefers to solve these problems. To use the sales job example, it would be important to know if the company tends to rely on face-to-face sales more, or prefers to sell by telephone, or perhaps create promotions and specials to meet their goals. Once you know how the target company operates, you can highlight your ability to work in that manner as well. Taking a hiring manager down this journey dissolves their doubt about the ability of the candidate to do the job. It's not a question anymore because, they have proven that they have already done it.
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