Boston Career Counselor

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Cover Letters: What are they?

As you apply for jobs in Boston, is a cover letter necessary and useful (yes!)? And if so, what exactly should be in a cover letter?

What a Cover Letter isn't: Obsolete. Is it true that some recruiters and hiring mangers may not read your cover letter? Yes, of course that's true, but some of them won't read your resume either and that doesn't mean you shouldn't send one.

What a Cover Letter is: A cover letter gives you an opportunity to point out exactly how you can meet and exceed the specific job requirements for a given job. Using powerful examples, you have the chance to explain how you can add value and make your employer's life easier.

What a Cover Letter isn't: A career biography. Once upon a time, I graduated from X university with a degree in y. After working at Z job for 2 years, I left to travel around A for a year. I then developed b years of experience working in C company where I learned to do D, E and F. This is not compelling.

What a Cover Letter is: You may have heard the term "targeted" as it relates to cover letters? The idea is to only tell the employer what is relevant to them. It's not a place to write out your resume in narrative form. That's wordy and a waste of valuable marketing space. Instead, provide 2-3 anecdotal examples showing how you have met and exceeded the job requirements in the past as a way to prove you can do the same for the prospective employer in the future.

What a Cover Letter isn't: Something to quickly get out of the way so you can submit your job application and go have a cup of coffee (although I do encourage the consumption of coffee!).

What a Cover Letter is: A marketing opportunity that you should customize for each job. In an ideal world, you would have someone else proofread it as spelling and grammar do count! At the very least, write the cover letter and then read it an hour later to check it before sending.

To see a powerpoint presentation on cover letter format, check this out, or contact me to jump start your job search.

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