Resume and Interview Tips

What Information Should a Quality Cover Letter Contain?
By:Anna M D'Souza

What Information Should a Quality Cover Letter Contain? Certainly this is the single most important question for all job seekers. Don't get it wrong. Assuming you are the product, your cover letter is the salesperson that knocks on the employer's door to convince him to buy the product - in other words, to hire you.

According to Jimmy Sweeney, author of The Amazing Cover Letter, the job seeker who 'sells' him or herself the best wins the job every time! So your 'humble' cover letter has the sales power to land you more quality job interviews and offers this month than 99% of your competition will land all year.

As a quality cover letter is so important for job seekers, what information should it contain? Some emphasis their experiences and qualifications; some explain why they were made redundant and need a new job; some tell the employer how much interest they had in that role and how dearly they want to work for that particular company; some indicates they are such a quick and smart learner...Nope, all these are not the information that a hiring manager wants to know. Because you are talking about why you need that job, while the hiring manager wants to find out why the job needs you.

Whether you're a college graduate starting out, a seasoned career professional or perhaps changing careers for the first time in your life, whatever your current employment situation, the most important information on your cover letter is why you are the right fit for that job. Unless you are applying for a trainee role, you don't need to indicate how quick you can learn. Also you don't need to repeat your experiences and skills which are on your resume. You don't have to emphasis your interest in the role as well. If you don't, you won't take the effort to submit an application, will you?

Now let's talk about how to convey this important information to the hiring manager.

Compare these two:

(A) I've had 10 years of experience assisting my previous employers in a similar role and I know I can contribute to your company the skills I've developed in these jobs--organization, dependability, multi-tasking, and positive problem-solving.

(B) I'm a seasoned executive assistant and have had experience supporting senior expatriates ranging from MNC to small regional office. I'm really interested in this role and working for your company.

A is talking about the contribution he can make to the job. B is a plain explanation of his experience and his interest in the role. Who is more likely to be called for interview?

The other information that your quality cover letter MUST contain are:

1. An attention grabbing headline.
2. Closing the letter by asking for an interview.
3. Your contact information (one email and one cell phone is the minimum).

You may have heard of one or more of these previously. Like many things in life, it is always easier to know than to do. The Cover Letter Blog has a free mini course to walk you through each of the steps in writing a quality cover letter. Click here for instant access.

Anna M D'Souza is a headhunter and author of the Cover Letter Blog

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