Traditionally, job applications have included resumes and cover letters. The resume is still expected when you apply for a job, but more recruiters are now questioning the need for a cover letter. In fact, a majority of recruiters responding to a recent survey said they did not believe a cover letter is an absolute necessity.

Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to include a cover letter. First of all, it provides an additional opportunity to sell yourself to an employer, to make your case why you are the best person for the job. A well written letter also highlights your communication skills. It also shows your interest in the job because you took the time to write it.

The reason why cover letters may be getting a bad rap is because people generally do not know how to write one that is effective. There are a few common mistakes that people make when composing the letter that blunt its persuasiveness. Here are a few things to avoid.

1. Not doing research
You should never send a generic cover letter to an employer. This is worse than sending none at all. You need to research the company you are applying to first, to learn about its mission, goals, values, and operation. You need to review the job description to learn the particular needs that the company is attempting to fill.

All of this research will help you to focus your letter on the particular problems and needs of the company, to highlight the skills and knowledge you have that addresses those needs.

If you can, you need to address the letter to a specific person, preferably the hiring manager.

2. Rewriting your resume
This is why many consider the cover letter to be superfluous, because many people simply repeat the information already in their resume, wasting not only their time, but a great opportunity to showcase their talent. They just don’t know how to effectively use the cover letter.

Again, you need to highlight the skills and experience that applies to the job you are applying for, how your particular talents can meet the particular needs of the company.

3. A one-size-fits-all approach
Some people write one letter with generic information and send it to all of the employers, simply putting a new addressee on each letter. This is pretty much a waste of time. If you are not speaking to the particular needs of a company, you are not going to get hired.

4. Spelling and grammar errors
If you have errors in spelling or grammar, it pretty much defeats the purpose of writing the letter. Instead of impressing the hiring manager with your skills and background, you are showing your ignorance, carelessness and lack of professionalism. Carefully proofread each letter you send.

Winston Resources knows how to work with job candidates so they stand out from the crowd. We take the time to develop a relationship with each person, one based on trust and caring. Give us a call today.

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