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    Mar 3, 2015

    5 Steps On How To Write A Breakthrough Cover Letter

    A perfect cover letter is like the far-off lake that a parched desert wanderer spies on the horizon. The harder you try to reach it, the further away it seems. Does it really exist – or is it just a beautiful mirage?

    Cover Letters TOTALLY Matter, AND They're Underrated.

    What is a cover letter? Do they actually help you when you're applying for a job?

    A Cover letter is, obviously, a letter sent along with your resume to talk about additional skills and experiences you have. You want to talk about why you are interested and passionate about the field and company. Make sure you write a cover letter that is tailored for each company you apply to. Hiring managers can tell if you wrote a generic one and pressed copy and paste 100 times.

    Cover letters are the first thing human resources, recruiters, hiring managers, etc. see when they look at your application and resume. And duh, of course it helps. It can only benefit you - even if HR doesn't read your cover letter, it shows effort and as a good candidate in this job seeking world, we must invest time to perfecting the art of the cover letter.

    1. Put in time and effort.

    Cover letters are tedious, and no one wants to spend time writing one. BUT we must. Sitting down in front of our computer is just the first step on the road to getting that interview.

    2. Realize that a cover letter will give you an advantage.

    You're sitting in front of your screen, moments away from closing Microsoft Word. But then you realize that cover letters are the first thing people see along with your resume. It's your chance to be the lively, captivating person you are and win them over with how you are so passionate about the field and how you're different from every one else applying to the same job.

    3. Do your research and know your audience.

    The tone of your letter, whether it is formal or informal actually depends on the company culture. Just make sure you get a sense of their culture and include items of interest in your letter. (GOOGLE the company! It's the PERFECT time to creep) Use any anecdotes that explain exactly why you are interested in working for them. Funny stories that make you seem more personable will totally win them over.

    4. Know yourself.

    Your resume gives the catalogue of your qualifications, but your cover letter is a place where your stellar personality and personal qualities can shine through.

    Cover letters are the #1 best way to get someone to look at your resume closely. You have to come across as a human being, not just a boring list of jobs and programming languages.

    Tell a little story, form a connection with the person reading your cover letter "I've spent the last three weeks looking for a job at a real software company, but all I can find are cheesy web design shops looking for slave labor."

    Or, "Video production is my passion, ever since I was little I had a camcorder glued to my hand. As I got older, I started experimenting with short films, and going to the film academy has only helped me master these skills. But, my passion for film has been around ever since I was born."

    5. Show, don't tell.

    This is a classic piece of advice that all writers keep in their back pocket. You are a much more effective written communicator when your message is conveyed through evidence rather than narrative. In fiction, this means using images, events, or conversations to convey a feeling or aspect of a character's personality. In a cover letter, it means using relevant stories and anecdotes to convey to the reader an aspect of your personality.

    Lastly...

    Lifehacker.com has a handy list of three things every single employer needs to get from a cover letter before he or she moves on to a resume:

    1. You're smart
    2. You'll get things done
    3. You'll fit in well with their corporate culture

    I obviously know you fit all three of these categories... so turn on your computer, and start that bangin' cover letter!

    *FINGERS CROSSED* that your resume and cover letter lands you an interview!

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