By Gerrit Hall
Peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, Ben and Jerry... some things are just meant to be together.
Just like these great pairs, your cover letter and resume should be a match made in heaven. When written the right way, these two documents complement each other in a way that engages the employer of your dreams.
Check out these four nifty ways to make your cover letter the perfect introduction to your resume:
1. Tailor it.
It might be easy to write out a "template" cover letter and jet it off to dozens of employers, but it won't get you far. Employers respond to tailored resumes that show you did your research. Make your best effort to address it to the right hiring manager and include details that only the company would have.
Know someone linked to this company? Now's the time to drop their name. Nothing is better than a referral.
2. Insert some personality.
I've noticed that many job seekers read "be professional" as "be a robot". Using bland, overly formal language says nothing about you. Employers want an employee who is capable, but also someone who would be a good addition to their company culture.
3. Go for detail.
Your resume is full of solid facts, but your cover letter can benefit from a detail or two. Consider including a short anecdote or an example from a time when you succeeded in your career. This is the time for prose.
4. Email it
Last, but not least, you're best off including your cover letter in the body of the email you're sending. If you include it in your resume attachment, what's going to be in the body of your email anyway?
What do you think? What other tips would you share with job seekers writing their cover letters? Any particular mistakes to avoid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free Web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes -- instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.
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