Cover Letters

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When to use resume and cover letter templates…

I know of few people who get all geeked about writing their own resume or, much less, constructing a cover letter. So, the quickest way possible to complete this onerous task is to revert to a template—pulled from MS Word if you’re looking for a way to basically fill in the blanks or copied directly from other resources.

There. The job is done and you’ve got something ready for your job search, right? Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that you’ve got something to distribute but no in the sense that it may not be all that effective.

Here’s what I mean. Suppose you’re an HR specialist who sees literally hundreds of resumes a day. What would grab your attention more, a resume from the very predictable Word template or one where the writer took a bit more care to craft its contents? The answer, I’m sure, is obvious. After a while, it takes effort to get past the same-old same-old template look and really pay attention to the contents, even if it’s great stuff.
So, best use of the template in my personal opinion is as a structure for your initial draft. After that, ditch it in favor of something more distinctive.

On to cover letters. Again, there are samples all over the place. But here’s my suggestion.  Tweak and adjust the standard stuff so that it’s really you who’s coming across.  This is especially true if your particular job search does not match the sample cover letter. For instance, I heard from someone today who ended their cover letter with a phrase saying that she would call in 10 days to check on the possibility of an interview. Good stuff normally. That’s how the sample letter was worded. However, the companies where that person was applying did not provide names or phone numbers, thus rendering the phrase meaningless and inappropriate for that particular employer.

So, take resume and cover letter samples as just that—spring boards for your own creative additions and subtractions.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 03/14 at 02:50 PM
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Cover letters: sample introductory paragraphs

Yesterday’s blog on cover letter guidelines—helpful in a general sense, right? But you may still be puzzling over ways to jump into that first paragraph. How do you start when you don’t know what to say?

To answer that question, I’ve included a number of alternative first paragraphs excerpted from
Cover Letter Magic, hopefully enough to get you started.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/28 at 10:35 AM
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cover letter tips

Though most of my appointments of late have been freshmen and sophomores seeking a suitable major, walk in traffic has been more concerned with the job search. And what stumps most people is the process of writing a cover letter.

Most cover letters follow a 3-4 paragraph format, but there are ways to make sure those brief paragraphs flow with fascinating text.

Cover Letter Magic, one of my favorites on the topic, lists the following Top 5 Cover Letter Writing Tips especially for new grads:

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/26 at 08:10 AM
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cover Letter Hints

Since I’ve been hitting the whole job search thing rather broadly of late, I thought it was about time to add a few specifics.

One area which typically stumps searchers is the dreaded cover letter. I’ve seen everything from two paged tomes to very brief—but dry—form letters.

The best lies somewhere in between…if you drop the dry, that is… in a shorter, one page targeted letter. Easy to read. Interesting enough to hook people into reading your resume, which is the real purpose of the letter in the first place. Think interesting version of a direct mail piece—one which lures you on to the second page.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/24 at 02:41 PM
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Email—small stuff/big consequences

I had originally planned on writing stuff in a sequential manner. But, if you know Aunt Bonnie personally, you’ll know I’m not really a sequential kind of person. And, so much of this is based on what I encounter on a day to day basis that itís hard to stay sequential.

So, with that out of the way—today’s topic has to do with email. Foibles of, that is.

Three live examples of nixing your job search right out of the gate.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/11 at 12:17 PM
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