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Thread: Cover Letters

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    Cover Letters

    I'm in the process of looking for a new job and am feeling pretty good about the state of my resume. There are a handful of openings that I'm going to apply for but am stuck on the Cover Letters. It seems like the online advice that i can find is all over the place and most is contradictory.

    My current approach is to take the skills/attributes section from job posting and add a short statement with each one that says how I meet that requirement. The process of doing this is alright and should help come interview time but I'm not thrilled by the overall look of it.

    I know there are some hiring managers on this board so I figured it would be worth a shot for advise.

    I'm applying for Project Management jobs in Technology development fields.
    Thanks in advance for the help.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    The cover letter is not that important, the resume is. Just keep it simple.
    The resume tells the manager if you can do the job, and the interview tells him/her if you're a fit, and if you want to do the job.


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    Re: Cover Letters

    every cover letter should start out with a first paragraph explaining who you are and how you heard of the position... and it is paramount to adequately describe why you are applying for the position "I am applying for this position because..."

    Do not say that you are applying for a position because you want to be employed. You should find something about the company's core business that you really like and make that the reason you are applying for the job

    After that, you should focus on the experience you have and the education you have that relates to how you can help the company. DO NOT focus on yourself; focus the letter on how you can help them and provide value for them. Only mention things about yourself that are relevant to their business.

    Always end the letter thanking them for their time and consideration or something to that effect. If you use the same cover letter for multiple company's, make sure to tailor it and make sure that you do not send a cover letter mentioning another company's name. Very unprofessional and tells the company that you are lazy and do not proof-read your documents.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by CTTB78 View Post
    The cover letter is not that important, the resume is. Just keep it simple.
    The resume tells the manager if you can do the job, and the interview tells him/her if you're a fit, and if you want to do the job.
    I agree, as long as you have one. Just find a template and change the words around. if you receive dozens of resumes a day, the first place to start is the ones without cover letters. they go straight in the trash. Next is the resumes over 1 page long followed by resumes with goofy text and colors.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    I disagree. the cover letter is your first chance to show your writing capabilities and is hugely important. Anybody can put their qualifications on a bulleted list in a resume. The cover letter is absolutely important, especially if other candidates have not submitted one themselves. It shows that you really want the job and also shows your ability to effectively communicate.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by MNclone View Post
    I'm in the process of looking for a new job and am feeling pretty good about the state of my resume. There are a handful of openings that I'm going to apply for but am stuck on the Cover Letters. It seems like the online advice that i can find is all over the place and most is contradictory.

    My current approach is to take the skills/attributes section from job posting and add a short statement with each one that says how I meet that requirement. The process of doing this is alright and should help come interview time but I'm not thrilled by the overall look of it.

    I know there are some hiring managers on this board so I figured it would be worth a shot for advise.

    I'm applying for Project Management jobs in Technology development fields.
    Thanks in advance for the help.

    That's what I have done as well. My wife had me try it, and you're right, it doesn't feel "right" but I've had more than one interview where the interviewer specifically complimented me on my cover letter, so it seems to work.


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    Re: Cover Letters

    What you are describing is probably a pretty good idea but a couple of ideas for you:
    • Don't make it too long. The hiring manager is probably only going to read a few paragraphs so write it with that knowledge. Take that opportunity to highlight what sets you apart. You'll still have the interview to cover the other facets of your qualifications.
    • The quality of the letter is just as important as the content. They want to see that you put thoughts together and reflect that in the written word.
    • Double and triple check your spelling, grammar and word usage. Spell check will find misspelled words but won't find where you used the wrong words, if ewe sea what eye mean. If you struggle with this try proofing it just for the right words, then proof it again for grammar. Finally read it outloud and see if it flows when you read it. This should also help you to notice if you have a tendency to overuse words or phrases. Also listen to make sure you are mixing up sentence length and structure so it doesn't sound like a laundry list.
    • Have someone you trust look it over also for good measure. If you don't have anyone put it aside for a day or two and then look at it again with new eyes.
    Remember, hiring managers who are slogging through hundreds of applications, letters and resumes to fill a single opening are looking for anything to throw one out and weed the field down. Don't let careless mistakes knock you out before you ever get the chance to prove you are the one for the job.

    Hope this helps.


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    Re: Cover Letters

    I will graduate in May and to tell you the truth every person you ask is going to tell you something different. The college of business has us take engl 302 or something like that in which they cover resume and cover letter writing. Then you take it to your career advisor and they tell you to do something different.

    Apply this theme to the work world and in my opinion my cover letter and resume may be a flunker to one hiring manager and awesome to another.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    The cover letter is important. Don't go so form letter though that it doesn't directly reference the job at hand.

    for me though:
    THANK-YOU LETTER!

    Every job I've ever had, I've gotten because of my thank you letter, according to my direct superior. It seemed like it always came down to me and another candidate, but the Thank-you letter being personal and directly reference the interview sold them on me.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    FWIW - If you have a degree from ISU - you can still use the career services office (your info says ME - so the College of Engr Career Services). It never hurts to call them up and see what is standard in today's market for Engineers. They work pretty closely with companies, so it would be a good 2nd set of eyes.


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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by MNclone View Post
    I'm in the process of looking for a new job and am feeling pretty good about the state of my resume. There are a handful of openings that I'm going to apply for but am stuck on the Cover Letters. It seems like the online advice that i can find is all over the place and most is contradictory.

    My current approach is to take the skills/attributes section from job posting and add a short statement with each one that says how I meet that requirement. The process of doing this is alright and should help come interview time but I'm not thrilled by the overall look of it.

    I know there are some hiring managers on this board so I figured it would be worth a shot for advise.

    I'm applying for Project Management jobs in Technology development fields.
    Thanks in advance for the help.
    A cover letter is not important as a summary page, as a hiring manager it is the first thing I look at as I get dozens of resumes every day for each PM position I have open.

    Below is an example of one that I have used in the past and it has landed me every FTE or consulting job I have applied for :



    Last edited by cjb1978; 04-03-2012 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: Cover Letters

    How important is it to try and whittle your resume down to one page? If you have years of experience and have worked on many different types of projects, how do you suggest minimizing the resume to one page? Just curious on how others feel about this.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by cjb1978 View Post
    A cover letter is not important as a summary page, as a hiring manager it is the first thing I look at as I get dozens of resumes every day for each PM position I have open.

    Below is an example of one that I have used in the past and it has landed me every FTE or consulting job I have applied for :
    A summary page?

    Maybe it's just me but that looks like an oddly formatted resume.


    Last edited by Mr Janny; 04-03-2012 at 03:33 PM.

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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by isu_ce View Post
    How important is it to try and whittle your resume down to one page? If you have years of experience and have worked on many different types of projects, how do you suggest minimizing the resume to one page? Just curious on how others feel about this.
    I was told by our outplacement services folks that you dont need to squeeze onto one page and 2 pages is fine.



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    Re: Cover Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by wxman1 View Post
    A summary page?

    Maybe it's just me but that looks like an oddly formatted resume.
    The rest of the resume is a chronological order of my past experience. That is just a summary page to serve as the intro.



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