Getting It Covered: Give Your Resume a Good Face

By Megan Kuethen

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately how to write a cover letter, when to do it, and why. Hopefully, this will answer all of those questions.

 An ideal cover letter will be something like this:

 Dear _______, (Name, Hiring Manager, Recruiter, Mr. Ramos, etc.)

 I am writing in response to the job listing you have posted on Monster for the Engineering Quality Operations Coordinator position. I have attached my resume for your review (or consideration, evaluation, assessment, etc.) and am eager to discuss with you how my education and past experience can contribute to Amtec Human Capital.

 From my resume, you will see that I have five years of experience working in a software engineering environment. In my previous position as the Administrative Coordinator for Barnes & Taylor Consulting, I supported a team of ten engineers by maintaining a customer database, managing QA audits, and assisting offsite and traveling engineers with in-office tasks.

 What my resume does not reveal is my exuberance for project management and professional manner. I am well-organized and goal-focused, and am searching for a company that will continue to push me to grow as part of a team and individually. I would be an excellent asset for your company, and my experience and background are truly a close match for your needs.

 Thank you in advance for your consideration, _______. I look forward to speaking with you in an interview!

 My very best, (or Best regards, Sincerely, etc.) 

Megan Kuethen

 In my opinion, the BEST thing you can do with a cover letter is establish that you are not applying to every position out there (even if you are). What I want to see is that someone actually READ my job posting, that they took the time to explain WHY they’re a good fit, and that there’s more to them than just a resume… What any hiring manager or recruiter knows is that a person IS NOT their resume. Anyone can list a job and some responsibilities, but so much more goes into the hire… For instance, what if I received this cover letter along with a resume that looked great… but at the end of the day, I really need someone who is DETAIL minded rather than goal-focused? I can pick up the phone and explore that with her, and often times those are just key phrases that people throw around so I may hit gold (or I may not—maybe she really is all about the end goal).

 A well-written cover letter can never hurt your chances. And when you’re hardcore looking for a job, my advice is to apply to ten jobs a day. In this case, you NEED to differentiate yourself from others. A cover letter is your first impression.

 Final words: Make sure everything is spelled correctly, that you’re consistent with your punctuation (e.g., always or never using periods after bullet-point sentences), and that you’re professional. (More on that here:

Megan Kuethen ©  2010.

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