The Cover Letter: on your way to tomorrow

It seems that most people strive to be so accurate in the paperwork of their job search that they look more like yesterday than tomorrow.  This can doom you to being typecast as the worker you don’t want to be anymore.  In the next few postings, I’m going to look at the cover letter, resume, and thank-you note as opportunities to shape your interest in moving in new directions.

Let’s talk about the cover letter:

  • Don’t waste the opportunity you have to create a fresh and memorable writing sample.  Bland, formulaic letters are a waste of everyone’s time, starting with yours.  Why are you perfect for the job?  Why do they really need to speak with you? Here’s a chance to tell them. When I saw the opening for a public relations associate, I remembered how special it is to walk through the atrium in your building, marveling at the care of the plants.  It made a strong impression on me, and I’d love to be part of the team.
  • Convey enthusiasm for the position through expressing your passion, the direction you wish to grow into.  Is it history, geography, education, new architecture, community health, the environment?  This can be expressed as part of the explanation of why the job opening is so appealing to you. When my children were in elementary school, a speaker came to inform them about….. and subsequently we had lively dinner conversations.  I was impressed that a company would reach out to children with their message.
  • You can probably trace the start of this passion to a product you have used. Your website is one I turn to when I need up-to-date information on the Labor Market, and I would love to contribute to the timely dissemination of such material.

Your job history is what it is, and it may not lead you in a straight line to where you wish to go.  But your skills, energy, and enthusiasm can lead the way, supported by basic, transferrable skills.  Start with the cover letter.  Infuse it with your interest, show that you know and love this field, relish the opportunity to talk about it.

Next:  the language of your resume.

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