Cover Letters…102?

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely first day of spring.  My morning included a nice walk in the Blue Hills reservation, sitting by the pond and then running almost ten miles around the Charles River in preparation for a half marathon I am running in early May.

I wanted to share another recent article I received in regards to cover letters.  These tips are once again from Doostang.  Alesia Benedict, a professional Certified Resume Writer and Job and Career Transition Coach, offers the following advice about the three types of cover letters you must have:

1. General Cover Letter: This cover letter should give a broad overview of all of your experiences.
“When contacting a company ‘cold’, a general cover letter is your best bet because the primary purpose is to introduce you and highlight some of the key points brought into the resume. Sometimes referred to as a ‘broadcast letter’, it can be used when sending your resume to many recipients at once in a mass mail, too.

While general in nature, the general cover letter should be ’employer focused’ meaning the wording shows the reader how the company could benefit from the job seekers experience. A general cover letter does not mention specifics such as salary requirements but may mention relocation if it is an issue. Just as objectives are not used on resumes, language that details the wants of the job seeker such as ‘I’m looking for a permanent position with a stable company’ should be avoided.

The general cover letter should always end on a proactive note stating the job seeker’s intention to follow up with the employer rather than closing with a passive ‘I await your call’ message. End the letter with a specific message about when and how you will follow up and then make sure to follow through.”

2. Targeted Cover Letter: This type is used when you are drafting a cover letter for a specific job opening.
” A targeted letter can be morphed from a General Cover Letter but the content will change to some degree. First of all, the Targeted Cover Letter will mention the specific opening by job title in the first sentence so the reader knows it is a response to the advertisement. It is important for the reader to understand right away which position is being targeted.

Second, the Targeted Cover Letter will bring in specific qualifications which correspond to the requirements outlined in the advertisement. For example, if a job ad states “3-5 years experience in Accounts Receivable” is a top requirement, the Targeted Cover Letter would include verbiage that draws attention to the qualification in that area…The Targeted Cover Letter can be a fantastic sales tool, especially when you have all ‘must have’ requirements and many of the additional qualifications the employer hopes to find.”

3. Recruiter Cover Letter: Recruiters don’t look for the same types of information as employers hence the information mentioned in this type of cover letter should be different.
“Recruiters look for candidates for active, open positions and for positions they fill on a regular basis which can be anticipated. Recruiters do not look for jobs for candidates. The recruiter will review your resume to see if your qualifications match up for any active, open positions. If not, the resume is stored in the database for possible future open positions that will match up.

First, the target salary range should be given to the recruiter including base salary and benefits. The one issue for which a recruiter will aggressively advocate on your behalf with an employer is salary because it benefits the recruiter to attain as high a salary as possible. It is to your advantage to work with the recruiter and be open about your salary requirements from the start.

At the same time, salary is a limiting factor for recruiters. The employer gives them a range within which to work. Some recruiters only take assignments at or above certain salary levels, for instance over six-figures. The recruiter needs to know where you fall in the range and it is acceptable to state a range that you are willing to consider.

Relocation flexibility, willingness to ‘pay your own freight’ on relocation, and other factors of your employment can be provided a recruiter in the cover letter. If a company has stated no relocation assistance is available, knowing you are willing to foot the bill to move yourself is something the recruiter needs to know.”

I know that drafting up cover letters is a huge pain but I am now convinced that it is worth all the effort.  I have a couple of “general” cover letters and then tweak them for whatever job I may be applying to.

I hope these tips will help you start your search off on the right foot this week but for now, enjoy you Sunday!

What did you do today?


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