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Friday, June 12, 2009

Importance of a Cover Letter

In this day and age of click and apply HR folks, Recruiters and Hiring Managers really like to see that you actually read the job description before applying to a job. This can best be demonstrated in a brief cover letter sent to the job advertisement along with your resume. A cover letter doesn't have to be literature...In fact, your cover letter should only be 1-2 paragraphs at most. The basic cover letter should let the company know which job you are applying to as well as a few sentences letting the company know why you are a good fit. The cover letter should also be keyword rich. In the job requirements section of the job ad there is usually a descending order of wants and needs by the employer. If you have expertise in these requirements you should also include this in the cover letter. Remember, the individual reviewing the resume usually only spends a few seconds scrolling through your cover letter to determine if you are a viable candidate. You need to be both brief and specific. You can also include in the cover letter that you have met or exceeded the educational requirements for the job. If you don't match the job specifically, you need to include your relevant experiences and how it ties to the job. Lastly, you may want to emphasize why you are looking for a job (downsizing/lay-off) so that you can let the potential employer know of your immediate interview and job start availability.

Here is an example:

Let's say you are a Quality Engineer with a Masters Degree in Engineering and over 7 years of experience working in the Medical Device field. You are applying to a Sr. Quality Engineering job for a pharmaceutical company. The job requires a Bachelor's Degree and strong knowledge of FDA regulatory guidelines and working in a GMP environment. While you have not specifically worked in the pharmaceutical industry you have worked in a similar industry.

Your cover letter can read:

Dear Name,


I am applying for the Senior Quality Engineer position with ResuWe Pharmaceuticals. I hold a Master's Degree in Engineering and I have over 7 years of medical device industry experience as a Quality Engineer. I have a strong understanding of FDA regulatory guidelines as well as expertise in a GMP environment. Due to a recent lay off at my company I am searching for a new full time opportunity and would like the opportunity to work at ResuWe Pharmaceuticals. Attached is a Word copy of my resume. Please give me a call / email with any questions.

Thank you,

First and Last Name
Phone Number
Email Address

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